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Let’s discuss fight-or-flight programming and how it can be brought into balance.

What Is Fight-or-Flight Programming?
The fight-or-flight response is the body’s way of protecting itself from a perceived threat and involves switching the focus over to certain bodily functions that will help us respond to the threat.  The problem is that many of us are  “stuck” in the fight-or-flight response when there is No Threat. 

What’s Going On?
Over-activation of the fight-or-flight response leads to many different health issues. Some of the physical and cognitive symptoms of the fight or flight response are:

  • Faster, shallower breathing
  • Faster heart rate
  • Need to urinate
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • “Butterflies” in the stomach
  • Cold hands
  • Sweaty palms
  • Trembling/weak legs and hands
  • Tension in thighs, neck, and shoulders
  • Focus on negative memories
  • Tunnel vision
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness

Here is a video that explains the fight-or-flight response:
The Fight Flight Response – YouTube

Fear-Based Beliefs
Fear-based beliefs are the ROOT of our Fight-or-Flight response.  This can happen in childhood or through traumatic stressful events.  We develop fear-based beliefs when we perceive the world or people to be not safe, dependable, or supportive. The logical mind works by placing things into basic categories, such as “good” and “bad”, or “right” and “wrong”. If we sense that our environment or support system cannot understand our needs, then this is “bad” and will activate the fight-or-flight response. Our needs include more than just physical safety and survival, but also love and nurturing. Part of feeling loved and nurtured is believing that others truly see us and understand our feelings and emotional needs. When we don’t feel seen or heard, or don’t feel safe to be ourselves, then we go into threat perception mode. This has mental, emotional, and physical health consequences.

Here are some examples of where fear-based beliefs can come from. There are obvious things, but there are also more subtle things that can lead to fear:


  • A child was put in a dark closet as punishment for wrong behavior, and now as an adult they cannot use elevators.
  • War veterans looking for hiding or avoiding July 4th celebrations because of the fire-crackers triggering them.  
  • A teenage girl is raped and years later she is not able to fully enjoy intimacy with her husband.


  • Not saying “I love you” in families.
  • Neglecting or shaming emotional needs.
  • Sweeping things under the rug.
  • Not talking about the “elephant in the room”.
  • Role reversal – giving adult-like responsibilities to children.
  • Being told it is weak to show emotions.

There is HOPE!
It is a PERCEIVED THREAT that causes the activation of the Fight-or Flight-response. It is a PATTERN that we have been programmed to do. But we are more than our habits or patterns, we have the ability of choice.  

We can choose Fear or Faith, Denial or Acceptance, Being Stuck or Change.  It’s our choice.  If we choose to change our patterns of behavior, then we have to take action to make it happen.  

The Great Physican said,
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”  I John 4:18

It is through God that true healing will happen.  When we accept the Truth of any situation and rest in His love and acceptance, healing can take place.

What We Can Do About It
The good news is that we can re-program our brain to feel love, support, and safety, leading to a balanced nervous system that can correctly switch back and forth from the sympathetic to parasympathetic state.

At Berkley Wellness Institute there are 6 ways mentioned to help calm the Fight-or-Flight Response.  These are:

  • Deep Breathing
  • Notice your Patterns
  • Acceptance
  • Exercise
  • Cognitive Behavioral Approach
  • Speak to a professional

At Herbs4You, we now have:
The BrainTap System
The BrainTap System goes directly to the problem, the brain.  By reprogramming the brain, there can be faster change.  Users of the BrainTap system report feeling less stressed as well as finding it easier to reach their goals, no matter what they may be. See below for BrainTap testimonials.

Call or email us to learn more about how the BrainTap system can work for you. 
[email protected]

We’re here to help YOU!
Amy Willis MH, CTN


About the Author

Amy Willis M.H., CTN

Master Herbalist, Board Certified Naturopath
Amy is the Owner and Founder of Herbs4You. She is a Master Herbalist from the School of Natural Healing, and Board Certified Naturopath from the American Naturopathic Medical Association. Amy has 30 years experience with herbs and 15 years experience muscle testing.