The Physical Emergency Response (also known as the Fight or Flight Response), was first observed by Walter Cannon, a pioneer of the research on stress. In 1932, he established that, when an organism experiences a shock or perceives a threat, it quickly produces hormones to assist it to survive.
This physiological reaction happens when the body or the mind perceives an event as a threat. For example:
Breaking a leg
Eating food that has gone bad
Experiencing a challenging emotional time
The objective of this Physical Emergency Response (PER) is to find a way to recover or stay safe. It does this by switching on our emergency systems – the Sympathetic Nervous System and the adrenaline, noradrenaline, dopamine, cortisol and DHEA hormone systems.
It’s thanks to the PER that we see examples in the news of people who, in a moment of intense fear or danger, demonstrate superhuman strength, strength that they are not able to recreate later…
In the short term this is fine, but if we keep switching these systems on, it stops our immune system (which is the system for healing the body) from working properly and changes the way our nerve cells work.
Moreover and not least, to expend this immense amount of energy, the body has to take it from somewhere, somewhere inside your own body. Indeed, the Fight or Flight Response shuts down the rational thinking, the digestion system, the system in charge of balancing and, as mentioned earlier, the healing system!
For further information regarding the PER and how you can get yourself in a vicious circle of constantly activating the PER, the following videos are at your disposal.
Physical Emergency Response (PER) or Fight and Flight Response – 4 minutes
Fight and Flight Response – 8 minutes