Fight or Flight?
DID YOU KNOW....that we have an engrained response to stress??? It’s called the “Flight or Fight” response and it exists as an important survival mechanism. If you sense a danger (like facing a bear out in the woods is a classic example), it triggers this physiologic response in your nervous system, (specially the sympathetic component) to prepare your body to take it on 👊🏻or run away fast🏃🏻♀️! What this system is doing is diverting blood to your muscles and turning off any unnecessary bodily functions so that you may have all the energy you need to survive. And just as quickly as it revs up, it shuts down once the perceived danger is over.
GET THIS.....the same thing happens in response to PAIN! Pain is a warning sign of danger and sets off the same physiologic stress response as seeing a bear. It’s all good UNLESS pain becomes CHRONIC (constant pain despite resolution of danger). It’s like the bear is gone but the response won’t go away. Can you imagine living in a constant state of flight or flight? Do you? It’s physically and emotionally exhausting, it taxes your nervous system, depleting the essential functions like concentration, bowel function, appetite, sleep and the list goes on. It literally ages you!
What can you do? First of all, take a deep breath. Deep breathing activates the opposing system (the parasympathetic system) the one that tells your body that things are safe, thus restoring balance. Try the meditation mantra..”I am not in danger”... whatever works for you to calm your mind. Your heart rate will decrease, blood will come back to your head and with that a better foundation with which to tackle the pain.
Yes....I’m a medical doctor that treats pain but I never discount the POWER of the mind. We are STRONGER than we think🙌🏻! YOU GOT THIS!