How does your body respond when a threat is perceived?
How do you instinctively and intuitively react?
In the previous two parts part I discussed how people demonstrate the freeze and flight response to a perceived threat.
The head goes down and the shoulders get hunched up.
Eye contact is avoided, and movement is cut to the bare minimum.
“Now you see me, now you don’t!” occurs as a person shrinks to make themselves look as invisible as possible.
When taken by surprise a person will often initially freeze.
But what is likely to happen next?
If by freezing the danger or threat remains present the limbic system will respond by sending a message to get you to run away from the danger.
The further away the better.
Escape at all costs is the name of the game.
In essence, during the snap flight response your body wants you to distance yourself from something you would prefer not to consider.
You literally want to “get on your bike”.
In everyday situations you can spot this desire.
People will turn away and point their feet towards the nearest exit.
The eyes close more often, and a person may even rub them.
You may see someone place their hands in front of their face.
Also watch how the body leans away as an uncomfortable moment occurs.
All of these are distancing nonverbal behaviours that clearly indicate a person is ill-at-ease.
Now the fight response is the final act of the limbic system and takes centre stage if the freeze and flight responses fail to safeguard a person.
So, the fight generally is the curtain call, a last act to escape danger, and it trails the freeze and flight responses.
What can you observe in normal situations?
Obviously you cannot transfer fear into rage during a meeting or in any kind of social conversation.
Normal sociological conventions disallow this.
What can you observe?
You can engage in an argument, even heatedly.
This signals you are fighting without fisticuffs.
Insults, goading, sarcasm are all forms of aggressive behaviour.
You are not bloodied, but you can be unbowed.
What else might you observe, hopefully from a safe distance?
How does the limbic system act?
Watch and you will witness the chest being puffed out, the eyes look wild and threatening, and the overall posture appears to be confrontational and angry.
These signals can’t be missed.
If you see a confrontation in the street you will give the situation a wide berth, but we always want to look!
Invading someone’s personal space is also a modern signal.
Now the fight response and all of its idiosyncratic behaviours will result in emotional arousal.
The heart will pump more blood and the face will deeply redden.
Agitation is writ large.
The drawback to this kind of behaviour is that thinking clearly is compromised and rational, logical thinking is difficult.
However, any of these signals provide you with a warning to take evasive action.
They allow you to get out of harm’s way.
That completes this part, thanks for watching.
It’s a joy to be inside the fascinating world of your physiological reactions when in a discussion, particularly when it is somewhat sensitive.
Once known these insights and knowledge can swiftly improve your communication skills.
Remember you have many faces, many talents, many skills, many choices and some wonderful attributes.
Take the time to observe these signals when you are out and about.
It’s amazing how frequently you will observe them.