Fight or Flight and the Stress Hormone Cortisol
Why Tapping Reduces Stress & Anxiety, Improves Weight Loss and Increases Goal Achievement
Fight or Flight Response - What your body does that effects your thoughts and abilities.
Fight or flight response is meant to save your life if necessary. When triggered, the body's fight or flight system takes priority and can hijack other body systems. Heart rate changes, blood pressure rises, and more blood flow is provided to arms and legs in case you need to run to save your life.
The increase of blood flow to extremities is accomplished by restricting the blood flow to the central core of the body (you don't need to digest food when your life is in immediate danger) and restricting blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex of the brain reduces your impulse control. When your life is in danger you need to REACT instantly, instead of stopping to think clearly, weighing the pros and cons of the situation, then choosing the most logical response.
When the situation is "man with a gun" or "get out of the building, the furnace is going to explode" such extreme body system override responses are appropriate and necessary. Unfortunately, your brain triggers the fight or flight response for everything from minor upsets to extreme danger. The degree of fear / stress / negative emotion determines the amount of Adrenaline and Cortisol produced based on the intensity of your feelings / connection to the situation. Your fight or flight response is triggered by all that stresses you, including perhaps, dinner with your mother-in-law, not having enough time to get everything done, or not having enough money to meet your financial commitments at the end of the week or the end of the month.
The amount of Cortisol and Adrenaline your body produces is a reflection of the intensity of your fear, anger, grief, loss, guilt or other distress.
Meridian Tapping rapidly and consistently calms our body's fight or flight response, and can reduce or resolve all the following situations in which our body's natural Flight or Flight response interferes with us feeling well and being able to accomplish our goals.
1. Trauma / High Stress / Trapped In The Past - When we remember past traumatic events which remain unhappily unresolved we continue to produce a physical stress response in relation to the degree of unresolved emotional intensity... until that intensity is released or reduced by Tapping.
2. Weight Management - Longer term stress (a stressful job or relationship or a harsh inner critical voice) can cause your body to slow its metabolism as a survival technique. At the same time the increased Cortisol caused by the ongoing stress informs your body to store the glucose (carbs/sugar) in your body as body fat cells. The reduced impulse control caused by fight or flight response may undermine your best intentions to diet, exercise, or take action on other forms of self-care.
3. Overwhelm / Anxiety - High stress situations like test anxiety cause a wash of Adrenaline and Cortisol, which can cause confusion and an inability to focus clearly. Extreme stress may result in brain fog, making the recollection of information inconsistent or inaccurate. The more stressed and overwhelmed you feel, the more Adrenaline and Cortisol you produce; increasing the intensity of the brain fog experienced.
4. Achievement of Goals – (vs applying Masterful Avoidance Techniques) The confusion and brain fog caused by stressful situations can make it difficult to follow through and achieve goals.
Goal Achievement basic steps are;
Testosterone levels fall in the body as stress levels causes Cortisol levels to rise. A low level of Testosterone reduces your ability to make a decision and then take action on that decision… to make positive and decisive forward movement in the steps toward goal achievement.
Impulse Control - Stresses trigger a fight or flight response, which reduces the blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex of the brain. The pre-frontal cortex is the part of the brain which governs logical thought and is also where impulse control is governed. The more stressed we are the more difficult it becomes to focus clearly on any desired goal and to plan appropriate steps to take to achieve the desired outcome. Reduced impulse control makes it difficult to stay focused for following through on any necessary steps for goal achievement.
Taking Actions vs. Self-Sabotage - The rise in your stress hormone Cortisol causes a fall in Testosterone. A minimum level of Testosterone is necessary in both men and women before we are able to make decisions, and to take action on our own behalf. Until our stress level is lowered (reducing Cortisol levels - which allows Testosterone levels to rise), we continue to ‘dither’, delay or continue gathering information instead of making decisions and taking action. There are many avoidance techniques that fall within the ‘I’m not ready yet’ thoughts which are often labelled as self-sabotage. What might help us most towards achieving success, or even getting our basic goals accomplished, is reducing the level of unaddressed stresses in our lives.
5. Relationship Success
- Whenever the flight and flight response is triggered by any
situation which is perceived as stressful, there is reduced
blood flow to the brain's pre-frontal cortex. This reduction of
blood flow reduces your brain’s access to ‘logical’ thinking
functions. When fight or flight is triggered, we are in
REACTION mode. Incoming information may not be processed very
clearly or accurately. Taking actions while in a reactive
state seldom supports positive outcomes or happy resolution
Reducing Emotional Stresses - Tapping can be helpful in rapidly reducing fears and other emotional intensities. Clear and beneficial communication is possible when individuals choose to refrain from verbally attacking or escalating a situation while feeling upset or ‘triggered’. Tapping rapidly assists in reducing emotional overwhelm returning you to a sense of calm. When calm, thinking with clarity and focus returns, allowing more control in achieving a desired outcome.
NOTE: Children also benefit from a time out (and Tapping) when they are angry, frustrated or have not behaved well. Five to ten minutes of Talking and Tapping (or just silently Tapping) can introduce calm, and reason. (IE. After a situation occurs and they have been Tapping for calm, children can become part of the solution. Acknowledge reality first… “That situation didn’t work out too well this time.” Then, introduce possibilities like “ What can we do differently to get a better solution next time?”) This is a good idea for adults, too!
6. Health and Wellness – When feeling stressed or dealing with stressful situations extends over a long period of time, any physical symptoms which have been turned on by that stress, may grow louder. IE. Stomach pain may increase into IBS, neck and shoulder tension may increase into headaches or migraines, muscle tension may develop into physical cramps or aches, or physical pain may escalate in intensity from low to unmanageable.
In extended periods of stress, your body deals with ongoing excesses of Adrenaline and Cortisol. High stress over an extended period can cause the breakdown of T cells in your immune system. Then, beyond being just stressed (overworked and underpaid, overwhelmed or exhausted) you'll also be more susceptible to catching colds and viruses much more easily.
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Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is
classified as Energy Psychology. Promising clinical
showing effectiveness of EFT have been published across a range of issues. EFT, developed in 1995, is still considered 'new' by Western medicine.
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