Dealing with Problems – Fight or Flight?

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Fight or Flight?

Fight or Flight?

Problems are inevitable part of human life. Problems are irrespective of age, class, gender, magnitude and are not bound by any possible human agency. They are nothing but everything. Humans have developed a psychological, social, physical and economical system to deal with problems of possible sorts. The common human psychology of a human works on this mechanism of dealing with a problem which is now termed as Fight or Flight. Many of us would acknowledge it, strive to change it, many would accept it and let it go and would completely negate it with their explanations, and this in turn is also a way of – fight or flight.

The articles concerns to basically differentiate on what sort of personality are you. But do keep in mind that personality is a combination of traits and behaviorism and a person might opt for fight or flight mode in different situations. Do not judge oneself or others on this behavior and understand that this human psychology is a reminder that no matter how difficult the situation is one always has an option to either fight it or to take a flight from it.

So, to begin with, let us take a simple example of meeting someone in public you really want to avoid. That could be your ex, or your school teacher, or some rival. There will two responses to such a situation. A person ABC might like to hide away himself or herself, avoid eye contact, slip away from that situation by any means and try to think that this moment never happened. But there is another option to respond that could be the response of person XYZ who might like to face the “unwanted” person, if not approach him or her, then also not avoid and not try to run away. XYZ will be firm in mind that whatever happened between them and that person is now over and there is no need to keep running away as things of the past cannot be changed now. This example is a clear depiction of flight by ABC and fight by XYZ. Such circumstances are very common and often get unnoticed by us. But the mind keeps struggling day and night, pulling it senses together to decide whether to “fight” or “flight”.

Psychology behind Fight or Flight response

Psychology behind Fight or Flight responses

Take another example, which is also quite common. In a meeting hall of 200 people, you are randomly selected by the head to make some announcements on the mic or deliver an important speech. You were not prepared for it and you start feeling anxious and nervous about it. Now, you have two options in this situation as well, which many of us neglect. Either you will go to the head, give him some petty excuse as to why you cannot deliver the speech. You might say you don’t feel well, or that you have to leave, or that you have a sore throat or you’re unprepared. Many of these reasons will be nothing more than false explanations for your stage fright or your laziness to prepare for public speech. But there is also the second option which will be that you accept the opportunity with zest and prepare your mind for the situation. The first situation is the probable decision of your mind to take a flight or an easy escape from the situation and the second situation involves courage, firmness of mind and the decision to fight. These are common examples but the mind makes the decision of this kind every day without our knowing. These are part of the sub-conscious mind which plays the role of a decision maker for us. We choose between fight or flight when we the option either to sleep or to study, when we have the option to get tempted by some yummy junk food or to remind ourselves of our poo health.

Fight or flight defense mechanism is often used in relationships by people. There are many people who really like to take a flight from the situation when it gets too hard for them to handle and avoid confrontations and do not fight for what is right. The person who takes the option of flight might be doing to avoid the situation from getting worse but for the other person involved the flight seems an escape which they gave more importance than to stay in the relationship and fight the way out for a solution. No matter how easy escapes a situation offers, one should always try to fight the situation rather than escaping it and then facing the consequences later.

Fight and flight are quite different and opposing reactions to a problem and one has to keep in mind that no matter what is the nature of problem, there always exist these two opposite poles and in order to decide what is best for you, you have to have an open mind and firm decision making power. Yes of course there are some situations where one thinks that fighting is worthless but one has to learn to differentiate between such situations and those which really require the passion to struggle and fight. Also similarly, taking flight or taking an easy escape is not a solution but one should be open that there might be a situation from which it is better to escape then to get involved. As human mind cannot foretell what situation or problems future might bring along, it is better to keep one’s option open.

As we all know, problems are inevitable part of our life, no matter we do we will always encounter problems and tense situations. So, it is better to train your mind accordingly as to in which situations do you need to take a flight and where can you hold yourself together and fight.


Live life to the fullest!

Live life to the fullest!


A dreamer, creative thinker lover of poetry, nature, dance and travelling. Student of Delhi University, doing graduation in English Literature, I have the love for writing and reading as well.