How Does Fear Affect My Body?

I have talked extensively on fear in past blogs. This blog is about the body’s response to fear and how it changes our bodies chemical makeup. There are over 200 chemicals (hormones) that react when we experience a stressful event, perceived as a threat. 

In an acute stressful event, there is a cascade of changes in the nervous, cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune systems.  The hormone adrenaline is released to prepare the body for a fight or flight response.  Once released this increases heart, sweating, blood pressure, and breathing rates. With the help of cortisol, your liver will break down molecules and release more sugar or glucose into the blood.  An increase in blood sugar levels provides more energy to the body. So now you are ready to respond to the threat, at times we make an error and the threat could be perceived yet our body response the same regardless.

A stressful event like a traffic jam increases the hormone adrenalin and our feelings of anxiety, thus increases the heart rate.  In a critical incident with much intensity more hormones are released to match the intensity.  The other factor to consider is something called cumulative stress, this is when events of stress continuously occur and there is not enough time between events for the body to recover and detox from the hormone release.  It can take up to 21 days for the hormones to return to normal levels.

If you have experienced a traumatic event or are in a situation where stress is cumulative, drink lots of water, stick to an exercise routine, in general take care of yourself through sleep and nutrition and lead a balanced life.  If you are feeling like things just are not feeling right seek professional support.

Have questions ask me,

Ref: academy lesson

Ref: ICISF, Group Crisis Intervention, Jeffery T Mitchell, PhD, CCISM

May 13, 2024

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