Do you have a Flight or Fight response to situations?
Of a truth, I have only ever had a “flight” response to failing relationships. Sometimes, I ask myself Why I have gotten so used to “running” in the face of challenges. I elope all the time, so much so, I have become too comfortable with settling with the “flight” response.
I do not know how I became this way. Although, I suspect it’s as a result of a traumatic experience from the past. I’m not one to Opt for patience, neither am I ready to openly outdo a rival over a romantic interest. The truth is, It’s usually the opposite for me. Once I discover a sniff of someone else or an appearance of foul play, I walk away.
A while ago, I was trying to make research on mood swings and it’s varying intensity. I needed to know the cause of my sudden and dramatic change of mood. I was forced to ask if there is a particular brain chemical in charge of happiness and sadness. Is there a secretion of brain chemicals and waves that surmounts how people feel? You know that feeling people get when they are suffering badly from nicotine addiction and how irritable they can be in its absence? Is there an explanation for all these?
I was able to learn about these chemicals that control the type of happiness you experience.
They are: D.O.S.E
Now, I am going to try and explain these chemicals and the type of happiness they produce in a layman’s term.
Dopamine is responsible for the little happiness you feel when little things get you excited. You know that excitement you get when someone winks at you, likes your pictures, or drops a nice comment to compliment you. Yes! Dopamine oversees that feeling.
Oxytocin, on the other hand, is felt from physical contact. You know that jolt of happiness you get when rubbing fingers with someone you like, or the feeling you get when you hug someone you hold dearly to your heart. You know that feeling you get when you are scared and a trusting arm of care is placed on you. It is the type of happiness you get from someone that you trust and care deeply for. The oxytocin chemical is usually the one active when building relationships.
Serotonin is a brain chemical that builds on pride and status. It is the chemical in the brain that secretes whenever we accomplish something, whether a goal or a bet. Remember how you felt the day you finished school or after excelling at something? It is Serotonin that gets activated when you feel excited about these things. It is what motivates people to excel, it propels and controls what to feel and how to feel. You get awards, get appreciated or complimented, you feel a rush of happiness.
Perhaps we can say this chemical drives prominent persons such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Burna boy and other talented individuals who have been accused of being proud. The truth is, serotonin can be regarded as the most positive of all brain chemicals. It gives a kind of self-confidence that is needed to do something extraordinary.
This chemical is released in response to pain. It is a kind of chemical that induces happiness to cover up the pain. When it is activated, you probably might not feel a single pain, even if you are being burnt (pardon the exaggeration). I’m only trying to make you understand the effect of this chemical on humans.
Have you ever been so in love that you don’t feel hungry? Instead of being hungry, you are filled up. Endorphins are responsible for this feeling. The irony of it all is that is probably hungry, however, you are way too happy to even feel hunger. Runners and other athletes can testify to this phenomenon. You know when you have gone 2 or 3 laps that you are in serious pain, and then you manage to run around jubilating after winning the race even when you are exhausted. Realistically, you did feel like you were going to collapse some minutes ago. However, as soon as you discovered that you got to the finish line before anybody else, you suddenly regained that strength from nowhere to run around celebrating your victory.
The flight/fight response can be influenced by the chemicals in charge of happiness. Have you ever been so happy that there was nothing no one could do at that moment to aggravate you? I’m sure you have!
It is therefore right to deduce that, the presence of some chemicals in the brain doesn’t just determine one’s mood or happiness but is responsible for mood swings and sadness. These chemicals control the way we react, respond and make decisions. You should note that the flight or flight response can both be psychological or physiological.
I tried to trace the root of my flight response and I have gotten to know that its foundation is rooted in a traumatic experience that occurred years ago.
Ways to correctly handle the flight/fight response.
1. Put yourself in a stress-free situation.
Learn to stay away from situations that will stress or aggravate you. Although, there is a limit to what you can do to stop other people from fagging you out. However, ensure that you control the way you respond to things and people. Only put yourself in a healthy and safe environment.
2. Medications help too.
Some medications help keep you relaxed. However, these types of drugs should only be used when they have been prescribed by the doctor. The consequences of misusing or abusing drugs could be catastrophic and should be avoided.
3. Try getting involved in physical and mental exercise.
Physical and mental exercise does a lot in ensuring the smooth functioning of our body. It is only when the mind is healthy that the body can be healthy.
4. Understand the root of your problem.
Understanding the root cause of your problem is the only answer to finding lasting solutions to problems. Knowing why you react the way you do or what precipitates your decision-making process is very important. Knowing the root of your problem is the only way to effect real change. A man can only tackle issues if he truly comprehends the problem, breaks it down and analyses it.
Finally, I must mention that my initial intention for this article was to make it a personal account of my flight response to issues, especially relationships. However, it somehow ended up taking another turn. Oh well! I would probably be addressing that in some other article.