This is the body's response to perceived threat or danger. During this reaction, certain hormones like adrenalin
are released, speeding the heart rate, slowing digestion, shunting blood flow to major muscle groups, and changing various other autonomic nervous functions
, giving the body a burst of energy and strength. Originally named for its ability to enable us to physically fight or run away when faced with danger, it's now activated in situations where neither response is appropriate, like in traffic or during a stressful day at work. When the perceived threat is gone, systems are designed to return to normal function via the relaxation response
, but in our times of chronic stress
, this often doesn't happen enough, causing damage to the body.