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Flight, Fight and sometimes Freeze

Are stress responses fired off by the amygdala a part of the brain designed to assess danger. OK you are walking about in the jungle, not too far from the cave you call home in the daily task of collecting berries for food. A sudden movement catches your eye. It’s something yellow with black stripes. Yikes, it’s a tiger and it is stalking you!Hungry Tiger

Danger signals flash across your brain. The brain triggers the stress response. The Autonomic Nervous System automatically engages. This is a life or death situation. What can you do?

You Can Run, You Can Fight or You Can Freeze.

Frankly, I don’t recommend the latter in this situation. Tigers can run very fast and they can climb trees so your body needs to switch gear to possess a surfeit of power if you are to escape. Fighting tigers is also an option. Tiger steaks make a nice change from berries but to kill this mighty creature you need a lot of strength and power. To switch on the boosters, the amygdala kicks the adrenals glands and the body is swiftly flooded with catecholamines. neurotransmitters and an array of hormones. These are toxic chemicals that will be cleaned up tomorrow by the liver. You need to be able to run fast. Blood flow is diverted from warm hands and feet to deep muscles particularly in the legs and arms. The blood drains away from surface capillaries, ensuring that if we are bitten we will not bleed so much. To help this process the blood becomes more viscous. Blood pressure rises, blood sugar levels elevate to give an extra boost of power. Pupils dilate so you can see better. Unnecessary energy consuming functions like digestion and sex drive switch off. You don’t need them whilst fighting tigers. Heart rate increases, breathing becomes rapid and so on.

The Danger Has Now Passed.

You have survived the ordeal. What’s more, thanks to the sharp wooden spear you always carry with you, you have killed the tiger. You go and find friends and family and now drag the huge animal back to the cave. Now, it’s time to celebrate. The sympathetic afterburners turn off and the body returns to homeostasis. Then the Parasympathetic side of the ANS kicks in. Blood pressure reduces, blood sugar levels normalise, pupils constrict as you no longer need superhuman vision. Blood returns to the hands and feet so they become warm and cosy and appetite switches back on as you begin to barbecue the tiger over a large fire.

Sizzling tiger steak

Stone-age barbecue

. You all eat your fill and can now lie down and sleep peacefully after the sumptuous meal. The cycle is complete. The liver slowly gets rid of the toxic chemicals and you return to normal. Being confronted by fearsome predators does not happen every day. Once every few weeks would be an average so there is plenty of time for balance in life. In Chinese Medicine absence of balance is called “disease”. The Triple Warmer Meridian runs the “Flight or Fight” Response. The term was first coined by Harvard Professor Walter Cannon in 1915.Walter Cannon-Harvard Physiologist

The Triple Warmer controls the hypothalamus, the amygdala, the thyroid, and the adrenals. All of these glands provide the body with energy. To accomplish a boost of the magnitude we have just seen, the Triple Warmer goes into overdrive. It quickly exhausts its own energy supply so it has to bring more from elsewhere in the system. Prolonged stress starts to drain energy levels.

There Are Very Few Tigers In Kensington And Chelsea.

The Flight or Fight Response is an anachronism. It served us well when we lived in the jungle but mighty few of us still do this. It doesn’t fulfill our needs in modern urban conurbations.Kensington and Chelsea

“If it were a Volkswagen it would be recalled”. Actually, it serves us very badly. Modern Man is perennially stressed in the West and probably worldwide. But the stresses are for the most part are no-longer life-threatening; however, we still perceive them to be so. Your boss might be able to fire you but it is very unlikely he is going to kill you. We respond inappropriately to threats and give them life or death significance. In the old days, the dangers came and went on a sporadic basis; we now react to them not once every three weeks but five or six times per day. No wonder chronic illness is increasing in frequency. Prolonged stress weakens the body and adversely affects the immune system. Blood draining from the extremities like the hands and feet lodges in deep muscle causing stiffness and tension. Cases of high blood pressure abound, as blood sugar levels rise we see an epidemic of diabetes. Obesity is on the increase. Belly fat issues lead to expanded girth. This is due to the stress hormone cortisol that emerges if stress levels persist for too long. Digestive disturbances abound as people strive to eat when stress has suppressed the digestive system. Erectile dysfunction is commonplace but it is no surprise to learn that the sexual function switches off when we are running away from tigers either real or imagined.

There’s The Problem. What’s The Solution?

Clearly, we must learn to switch off an over-active Triple Warmer Meridian and return to homeostasis. Simply stated we need to know how to switch the stress response off.

The Triple Warmer Meridian

Triple warmer, the flight or fight meridian.

How do we do that?

There is a Key.

To switch off the flight, fight or freeze mechanism we need to breathe. Have you ever noticed that when somebody is stressed or overwhelmed that start to struggle with breathing? Bringing them back to normal breathing calms them down immediately. Breathing and oxygenation of the system is the first step.

  • Take a deep breath on the count of four
  • Hold the breath for a count of four.
  • Breathe out on the count of four using the stomach muscles to squeeze out the air.
  • Hold the empty breath for the count of four
  • Then release the stomach muscles and you will immediately start breathing again.

Repeat the exercise by using four repetitions at least four times per day. Yes, four is a special number. In Hawaiian, it is “Ha” and that translates to “breath” and the number “four“. So four” Ha” breaths seems a good mix. I recommend you use the technique whenever you experience a stressful situation.

Another simple and yet useful distressing technique is to gently tap the thymus gland.

The thymus is located underneath the breastbone in the middle of the chest where many people mistakenly imagine their heart to be.

Location of the thymus gland

  • Gently tap the Thymus eight times whenever you feel a negative emotion like sadness, fear or anger.
  • It takes a brief moment and you will feel better afterwards.

Where you look with your eyes determines which part of the brain you are using. This little trick comes from NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). If you look up. That is turn your eyes up and look at the ceiling you are accessing the visual part of the brain and surprisingly few feelings exist at that level. Try it. Focus your attention on something that is bothering you, at the same time turn your gaze upwards to look at the ceiling. Keep your attention on the bothersome incident You will find the troubling feelings quickly dissipate.

A? technique that yields similar results is to place the first and second fingers of each hand on the frontal eminences. These are the bony skull parts located just above the eyes. Hold the points and keep your attention on the troubling emotions or limiting beliefs. Quite soon the feelings begin to subside in intensity. After a few minutes, you will find it difficult tot think of them at all as the mind drifts to other things. More than likely you will feel a lot of activity underneath the fingertips whilst focussing on the troublesome issue. As the emotions abate the activity starts to fade away until it disappears altogether.

Techniques like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or The Sedona Method are powerful tools in releasing these negative emotions . EFT is slightly more complex but there are videos and training aids showing how to use the “tapping” procedure and you will find material easily enough if you search the internet.

Gary Craig( Founder of EFT)

Gary Craig the Founder of EFT

The Sedona Method is the brainchild of Lester Levenson. When he was sent home from the hospital aged 42 after his second heart attack and was told to put his affairs in order as he was about to die he grasped that it was his thoughts and lifestyle that had created his acutely dangerous health condition. He had created it so he could uncreate it. He worked to release his negative and stressful thoughts and went on to live for another 40 + years without ever experiencing another heart attack The Sedona Method is very simple. You ask yourself three questions and release on them. That means you let go as if you were dropping something. You need to continue until the event or thought has no impact on you.

  1. Could I let this go?
  2. Would I let it go?
  3. When ?

Remember, the only time that exists in actuality is now!

Exercise plays a vital role in Stress-Reduction.

It doesn’t really matter what you do, but it is necessary to spend 35 minutes daily doing something that gets you out of breath. Walking is fine but be sure to walk up a steep hill and not around the shopping mall.

Yoga is a stretching regime with a spiritual base. It has powerful anti-stress components as does Meditation.

Stress eats up our Magnesium supplies at a furious rate. When we are stressed it is advisable to supplement with the Mineral. I have already posted on this. The link will take you to the article where you can buy a reputable supplement from a? good supplier. Take a look at the post. Magnesium relaxes stiff muscles, soothes the body, promotes sound sleep and helps with toxic constipatory conditions. Check it out. The recommended dose is circa 1000mg daily in two divided doses for a period of three months. Then get a blood test to check on levels.

The nice restful Parasympathetic state is fuelled by the neurotransmitter Phosphatidylcholine. You can take this as a supplement which will help foster a feeling of well-being. Lecithin contains Choline in this form? ?I recommend Lecithin Granules which you can sprinkle on your food or mix into your juice or smoothie. A Non -Gmo from is of paramount importance. The most common form of Lecithin comes from soya. Most soya from an American origin is genetically modified. But you can get Lecithin made from Eggs or even Sunflower.

Dr. Bradley Nelson’s powerful emotional release technique “The Emotion Code” is a powerful way of getting rid of trapped emotions that often provide the root cause of Stress.

Discover Healing

Trapped emotions are often the reason that stress is there in the first place. These are things and they make up blockages to the free flow of energy and information. Emotions also lodge in the Meridian System. They can be the size of an egg and can be located by careful muscle testing. You can learn how to free yourself from trapped emotions which places in your hands a very powerful healing tool. I truly recommend you to check it out for yourself. Click on the link to learn more.


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Healthy Blessings

Dr. Alister