The 5 Responses to Stress

The 5 Responses to Stress

When you read about stress, we often hear of the “fight or flight” response to stress. It is the natural instinct for self-protection, we either hold our ground and fight or flee an attack. Human beings have at least 3 other responses when faced with a challenge.


This mechanism is used by the Opossum in response to physical danger. It goes limp, and will appear to be dead.  In Humans, this strategy is recommended if you are attacked by a bear.


This strategy is mostly seen animals that display dominance or a pecking order. the less strong will submit, it allows them to live, and gain strength until they become the elder of the tribe.


The flow state was brought into modern lexicon by the author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. In this state, there is a stress, a threat, or an increased demand on your body or mind. Instead of narrowing the focus inward, or protecting, there is an expansion of energy with a continued “flow” to the higher centers of the brain.  People in “flow” report a slowing down of perceived time. This state can be also be associated with enhanced creativity and peak performance.

How can we get into a flow state?

Through training we can learn to be in the flow state. Picture yourself in second grade, standing in front of the class, giving a short presentation in science class. Everyone is looking at you, you start sweating, your words aren’t coming out of your mouth like they would in normal conversation. These are classic signs of your body unconsciously trying to protect yourself from a different or strange situation which can be perceived as a threat. This happens even if the situation isn’t dangerous.

Now fast forward 30 years, you have done countless presentations in high school and college, you have been on job interviews, pitched business ideas to potential partners, and have become skilled in public presentations.  You are asked to give a speech about something that is very important and you are passionate about it. The outcome of the talk will affect many people. Even with this challenge, you rise to the occasion, maintain a sense of calm, focused power through the presentation.

This can only happen by learning to acknowledge the subtle signals of your body, and acting in a way that leads to flow. It will feel very odd at first, as we are acting against natural instincts. We can train our body/mind to do something different, when instinct is telling us to stick our head in the sand and just wait for the threat to pass. Flow doesn’t usually just happen, this state must be cultivated.

With Network Spinal Analysis Care, this state is cultivated around 3-6 months into care, as your body doesn’t go into protection anymore when challenged, you begin to set new standards for yourself in regards to your energy state, your attitudes and actions.

Dr. Brian