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Stop Your Fight-or-Flight Reaction to Help Your Mental Health

Obstacles continue to block our path to mental health, and as a result, living with anxiety seems to be the rule rather than the exception. Use these tips to stop reacting to events and regain control of your mental health.

How to Stop Your Fight or Flight Reaction

Many things happen within us when we react. Emotions and negative thoughts take over. Often without realizing it, we begin to breathe more rapidly and shallowly, which activates the sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight). In turn, our heart begins to race and pound, we become alert for more danger. This fuels our negative emotions and thoughts, and anxiety deepens.

Unfortunately, the current threats seem never to end. We’re stuck in reaction mode. You’re not at the mercy of your nervous system, however. Take charge of your physiological reaction to regain a sense of control.

  • Use mindfulness to center yourself. When you notice anxiety, shift your attention to something you can see or feel. Look at an object and concentrate on its details, or place your hands on a solid surface and notice how it feels.
  • Turn off your sympathetic nervous system through breathing exercises for anxiety. Begin to breathe slowly and deeply, and pay attention to the sound and feel of the air entering and leaving your body. You can even focus on a simple word such as “in” as you inhale and “out” as you exhale to calm your thoughts.

It may take some conscious effort, but you can override your reactive fight-or-flight response no matter what is happening around you. Then, you can regain your mental health.

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Today's Question: What is your favorite strategy for calming down when you are anxious and your fight or flight reaction takes hold? We invite you to participate by sharing your thoughts, experiences, and knowledge on the HealthyPlace Facebook page.

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That's it for now. If you know of anyone who can benefit from this newsletter or the HealthyPlace.com site, I hope you'll pass this onto them. You can also share the newsletter on any social network you belong to by clicking the links below. For updates throughout the week, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or follow us on Instagram.

Thank you,
Deborah

Community Partner Team
HealthyPlace.com - America's Mental Health Channel
"When you're at HealthyPlace.com, you're never alone."
http://www.healthyplace.com

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2021, June 14). Stop Your Fight-or-Flight Reaction to Help Your Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, July 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-health-newsletter/stop-your-fight-or-flight-reaction-to-help-your-mental-health

Last Updated: June 15, 2021
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Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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