cbd and the fight or flight response
Relax, it’s just the fight or flight response
Is it a threat?
Do I fight?
Or run away?
You may be surprised to learn that you are subconsciously asking yourself the above 3 questions every day. And not just once or twice a day.
In fact, it’s highly likely that you ask yourself those questions literally hundreds of times every day as you continually assess new people and situations in your life.
Its commonly known as the “fight or flight response” and it happens below our awareness; deep in the hidden parts of our brains, the old parts, the circuits that work 24/7 to ensure that we survive.
The fight or flight response is not a new feature of our modern brains, it’s an evolutionary circuit that developed hundreds of thousands of years ago.
Kill or be killed
Imagine one of your ancestors out, walking through the forest, searching for food, when suddenly they encounter a wild animal or a hostile tribe intent on killing or eating them. The fight or flight response produces a surge in adrenaline, enabling them to fight the attacker or to quickly run away.
And that is why you are here right now!
Those early humans without an effective survival response were much more likely to perish. The “survivors” thrived and passed on their genes to their children, thereby ensuring that eventually the survival response became “hardwired” into our brains.
Fast forward 100 thousand years and the survival response still operates in basically the same way. The difference today however is that the “fight or flight” response is usually activated due to perceived threats rather than hungry wild predators or other attackers.
It could be a disagreement with your boss, being stuck in a traffic jam in rush hour or hearing news of a terrorist attack. Different stimulus but the same response; an increase in adrenaline.
You have most probably felt it before, a rapid heart beat, raised emotions, anger. You may have heard it described by other names including anxiety, fear, anxiety attacks and panic attacks, to name but a few.
All of these labels basically describe the same thing; the effect of adrenaline on our physical and emotional functioning.
Stress can make us ill
You have probably heard about some of the negative effects caused by stress and anxiety which can include illness, emotional problems, alcohol problems and illegal drug abuse. The anxiety epidemic is also thought to be partly responsible for the massive surge in prescription painkiller addictions.
Opioids are very effective painkillers, they also quickly produce feelings of calm and relaxation. Add to this the millions of people now addicted to prescription benzodiazepines (including Valium) and we can begin to comprehend the far reaching devastating effects at least partially caused by the simple “fight or flight response”
If we accept that the “fight or flight” response evolved to protect us from threats, it seems puzzling that it may actually be destroying us! And my response to that is:
The world has changed.
Increased working hours
Technology has brought us many benefits but at a price. Recently, scientists have calculated the average “working week” for the typical human living 50,000 years ago. You may be shocked to discover it was approx 15hrs. 15hrs a week spent building shelters, finding food and carrying out other tasks essential for survival.
I don’t know about you, but I normally work 40 – 60 hours in an average week, most people I know work well over 40 hours and some of my friends also spend over 2 hours a day travelling to and from work. Progress?
Fear and more fear
Be afraid, danger is just around the corner! It could be an asteroid strike, super volcano, nuclear accident, nuclear missile or terrorist attack.
The mainstream media constantly bombards us with warnings of impending doom and destruction.
I don’t know, maybe it’s to sell more papers or to keep us watching their TV channels for longer. Whatever the reasons, they do it. And it affects us. It’s over the top, out of control, fear mongering – and it’s got to the point where a lot of people live in a constant state of low level fear.
A lot of people these days don’t trust their own neighbours, prefer not to travel to foreign countries, and usually spend most of their time at home behind a locked door rather than venturing into the outside world.
Lack of connection
Being in nature is relaxing, but a lot of us now get to enjoy nature only by watching television or looking at images posted on facebook etc.
It’s sad, but true…
We are evolving into a new type of existence which involves living a large portion of our lives in virtual worlds. It’s a social experiment on a worldwide scale and the results are already plain to see.
Increases in obesity across the “advanced” world are easy to measure, alcohol and drug abuse is on the rise and dependency on medications of all types is at alarming levels never before seen.
We are as a species beginning to sever our connection to nature and its not looking great for us. There is even a name for it; nature deficiency disorder.
So, what are we to do?
What I am about to propose may shock you. You will be able to gain useful information from your reaction as it will tell you how far down the wrong path you have travelled.
So here it is.
Are you ready?
Reduce the amount of hours you work to a reasonable number, say 30 hrs a week.
Turn off your television, laptop and phone for a couple of days a week.
On those days venture outside into nature for a walk a couple of times a week (even better – take a friend or a dog).
How does that make you feel?
The stronger your resistance to doing the above 3 things, the more important it is that you consider doing them!
If you don’t think you can do all 3 then find a compromise that works for you. Whatever you manage to achieve will be a step in the right direction.
If you really don’t believe you can cut down your working hours, then maybe it’s time to be honest with yourself about how much money you really need to live your life.
It’s surprising how little money we need when we stop buying items that we really don’t need.
And always remember, there are no pockets in coffins. Investing in your own health pays much better long term dividends than investing money in material objects.
Learn to relax
There are a variety of techniques that are proven to be effective and you will need to find the one that suits you best.
If you search Google for “relaxation response” or “relaxation technique” you will find plenty of techniques to try.
A word of warning though, try to stick with one technique for a while rather than bouncing from one to another. Perseverance pays dividends.
Some natural herbs and supplements can also help to get you back on the right path, a lot of people are discovering that using CBD oil can help them relax. It can be ingested or vaped and can be a great help when using relaxation techniques or learning to meditate.
So go ahead, follow the above steps for a couple of weeks and see if you feel different or better.
At the very least you may find yourself working slightly less and having more free time to do the things that you enjoy.
You will also be getting a little more exercise and will slowly start to reconnect with the natural world around you. You may even discover something extremely valuable which you never realized you had lost.