The BLUE KNOT FOUNDATION: Stress Response is a quick and an informative read, providing you with facts that outline the effects of stress or when you feel threatened. It outlines the parts of the brain that carry signals to our body when we are in danger or when we feel fear, panic or are distressed in any way.

  • All people experience stress or feel threatened at different times. 
  • When we are threatened or feel threatened, a part of the brain (the amygdala) detects the threat. The amygdala signals to our body and brain that we are in danger and we feel fear, panic and distress. 
  • Our stress response takes over and we go into survival mode. In survival mode our conscious thinking brain switches off and we react automatically to protect ourselves.
  • Our stress response is part of our biology. It helps us survive danger. It does not involve any planning or thinking. 
  • We respond to stress in one of three main ways. We fight, we run away (flight) or we freeze (shut down). 
  • When we fight or flee, we become agitated (on high alert). We call this hyperarousal. 
  • When we freeze, we shut down, go numb or dissociate (we disconnect from our current experience – this is not conscious). We call this hypoarousal. 
  • Freeze can be active or ‘play dead’ freeze. The ‘play dead’ (faint or fawn) happens when we cannot defend ourselves anymore and we appease or please instead. 
  • When the danger passes, our thinking brain turns back on. Our body becomes calm. We return to a resting state. 
  • In the resting state we can repair. This happens with everyday stress. Trauma is different. 

Leave a Reply