The  “Fight or Flight Response”

Stress Event Occurs



Your mind perceives something is “wrong” (even if no physical danger) and you automatically react with alarm.  This is the fight-or-flight response.


Stress Response

Your body automatically reacts as if there is physical danger.  Your hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands react by increasing their output. Your pulse rate and blood pressure increase due to the perceived danger.


Internalization of Stress

If there is no actual danger/emergency to respond to/run from, the stress response is internalized.  Over repeated responses this can cause sleep disorders, headaches, backaches, anxiety, high blood pressure, and heart arrhythmias.

Maladaptive Coping

This can lead to self-destructive coping mechanisms such as overworking, overeating, inability to relax, and substance abuse in the form of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, even food.



Your physical and psychological systems can break down due to exhaustion.  You can experience depression, heart attacks, even cancer due to a weakening of the immune system.



You become unable to respond effectively.

Using Meditation

Stress Event Occurs



Your mind may still perceive something as “wrong” and react with alarm.


Stress Response

Your body may still react as if in physical danger.  Your hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands may still have an increased response.



Instead of internalizing the stress, you practice meditation to become aware of your stress response and you appraise your thoughts and feelings in their full context to determine whether there is real danger or just a perceived threat.


Skillful Coping

You seek new options through cognitive reframing and problem solving strategies (Mindfulness Meditation).  You also reverse the physiological stress response through meditation (Relaxation Response).



You are able to recover physical and mental calmness and balance.


You are able to respond effectively to the situation.

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