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Fight, Flight, or Freeze

The 3 Signs of Stress and How to Manage It Effectively

August 4, 2017 | nwfamilypsychology


We all deal with stress from the moment the alarm goes off to the time our head reaches the pillow at night. Stress is around us 24-7 – even our dreams can be stressful! It is one of those experiences that can build up over time, or hit us in a flash from an unexpected source. When stress doesn’t go away, we can enter the fight, flight, or freeze mode and life can become even more complicated.

Some people fight when the stress builds up. They get angry and lose their cool; they say and do things they don’t mean and later regret. Other people hide and hibernate, waiting and hoping for the storm of stress to pass, while some just freeze, as if in a deer in headlights state. It is no wonder that when we are stressed it’s tough to enjoy the small things in life, let alone get our daily work done and find time to work on those long term goals.

The good news is that stress can be manageable. While we may not be able to get rid of the source of stress, we can choose how to respond to it if stress is actually building up. I have found that the first step in this process is determining how much stress is affecting you. One way to determine this is to check these 3 areas:

FIGHT

  • Check muscle tension. Is there an area of the body that is tight or sore?
  • Check your vitals. Is your pulse running high, is your breathing shallow and quick?
  • Check your reaction to stimuli. Are you feeling overly sensitive to everyday noise, light, interactions with others at the office or home?
  • Check dialogue of mind. Are you entertaining negative, aggressive thoughts toward others, objects, such as road rage?

FLIGHT

  • Are you escaping stress? Examples of “flight” mode could be:
    • Over eating for comfort
    • Over using alcohol and drugs for an escape
    • Sleeping too much
    • Zoning out with t.v. and videos
    • Engaging in excessive screen time
    • Avoiding responsibilities (e.g., the dishes are piling up)

FREEZE

  • Check your perception of time. Do you find time gaps seem to be unaccountable during the day?
  • Review your daily interactions. Are you having difficulty tracking conversations and problem solving?
  • Check in with your feelings. Are you having difficulty identifying or vocalizing how you feel?
  • Do you feel disconnected from yourself and those around you?
  • Have coworkers and/or family members commented on your behavior?

If one or all 3 of these stress components are happening to you, I would love to show you how to break the stress cycle and effectively manage it. I have have helped people develop effective mind and body strategies for taming the stress response and begin living for what really matters in life.

If you would like to learn more about stress management, give us a call today – 360-692-3970 (www.nwfamilypsychology.com).

Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with Jake Kim, LICSW. He has been providing treatment for depression, anxiety, trauma, grief/loss, eating disorders, and treating significant life transitions for several years.

Jake uses evidence-based practice modalities as well as older mind body practices to help achieve balance for his clients.

Jake is currently accepting new patients at our Silverdale office.

Most insurance plans accepted.
www.nwfamilypsychology.com