Fight, Flight or Freeze.



In the context of death anxiety, individuals frequently exhibit an overactive sympathetic nervous system. Anxiety can lead to heightened physiological arousal even when no actual threat or danger is present. Consequently, individuals with anxiety disorders may experience rapid heart rate, increased perspiration, muscle tension, and a persistent sense of unease, even during routine activities such as work meetings or social interactions.

This phenomenon can be understood as a malfunctioning car with a perpetually stuck accelerator and ineffective brakes. The sympathetic system remains on high alert, reacting excessively to ordinary circumstances, and making it challenging for individuals with anxiety to regain a sense of calm and composure.


Our body must confront the threat head-on when the fight response is triggered. Adrenaline and other stress hormones are released, increasing heart rate, muscle blood flow, and energy levels. This heightened state of arousal readies us for physical confrontation or self-defence. The fight response is adaptive when we believe we can overcome the threat or challenge.


The flight response involves a strong urge to escape or flee from the threatening situation. The same release of stress hormones occurs, but in this case, the body prepares to mobilise its energy for rapid movement. This response is advantageous when the perceived threat is too overwhelming or dangerous to confront directly, and running away becomes the best chance for survival.


The freeze response is a form of immobility where the body temporarily shuts down or becomes still in response to the threat. It is often observed in animals as a survival strategy when they perceive a potential predator. In humans, the freeze response can manifest as a feeling of being paralysed or unable to act. This response might occur when the individual feels overwhelmed and unable to determine whether fighting or fleeing is feasible.

Athletes can use the fight/flight anxiety mechanism to motivate and focus. This can help them stay focused on their task and stay in the present moment. By using the adrenaline and other hormones released by this mechanism, athletes can power their performance and help them push themselves harder. Additionally, by understanding the physical changes in their body, athletes can use the fight/flight response to help them stay calm, relaxed, and focused during competition. Non-athletes can also benefit from the fight/flight anxiety mechanism by using it to motivate themselves and focus on their task. By understanding the physical changes that occur and the hormones released during this response, non-athletes can use it to stay focused and relaxed during stressful situations. Additionally, non-athletes can use the adrenaline released to power their performance and help them stay motivated. Finally, understanding the fight/flight response can help non-athletes better manage their stress and anxiety levels.

 So, we know that anxiety and the flight/flight mechanism can be used positively to cope with death anxiety. 

Related Posts

  • 06/04/2024
  • Death Anxiety

Unraveling the Enigma: Our Complex Relationship with DeathIn the vast tapestry of human experience, few themes are as universally significant and simultaneously enigmatic as death. Despite its inevitability, the

Read More
  • 12/12/2023
  • Uncategorized

Understanding ADHD: Navigating the Assessment Process for a Comprehensive DiagnosisAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects people of all ages, although it is commonly diagnosed in childhood.

Read More
  • 17/11/2023
  • Related Conditions, Uncategorized

Riding the Rollercoaster: Unveiling the Enigma of AddictionAddiction, my friends, is like being strapped into a rollercoaster you never intended to board. It's not just a habit; it's a

Read More

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Start YOUR membership today!

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore