The Big Freeze!

November 1, 2013

No, not a prediction about the weather, although I suspect it may be the case in the next couple of months! This is about a condition we probably all suffer from time to time and not just in the Winter!

Most of us know of the “Flight or Fight” mode. This is where all animals (including us!) when put into a threatening situation will either attempt to fight their way out, or run away. Of course, slightly different with animals, as it usually happens when faced with a predator that is about to eat them! With us humans, the predators take on a different form and although we may not be eaten in the physical sense, we may feel we are being eaten up in the psychological sense. Our predators tend to be stress, fear, anxiety, worry amongst others.

So, when we experience a situation that is threatening or stressful, the  fight or flight response is  triggered and we take action by either confronting the situation (fight) or escaping it (flight).

If however, the situation is perceived to be “hopeless” where it seems no action can be taken, then the freeze response is triggered. This is where we feel helpless to change whatever is going on. We see this “frozen” response in animals, just think of  the phrase “Caught like a rabbit in the headlights!”

We can relate it to ourselves  with phrases such as being “Scared stiff” or “Frozen with fear.” The freeze response is triggered when flight or fight is not perceived as an option. Fight or flight is about hope, freeze is about no hope. It is a last ditch effort to save ourselves!

When the body is in freeze mode it is unable to release stress, it is immobilised and the more we find ourselves in situations in which this freeze mode is triggered, it means our bodies just build up more stress.  If ever we have thought or said ”The situation is hopeless” ” There’s no way out of this” ”There is nothing I can do” chances are, we will go into freeze mode and stay there! The difference between us and animals, is that if an animal does survive the situation, they will shake themselves off and carry on, whereas we tend to stay stuck! With those stress levels rising higher and higher!

Our brain goes into freeze as well and we are unable to process all the info. I read a very good analogy by Nick Ortner author of  “The Tapping Solution” who said “Imagine you are being chased by a tiger and I am running alongside you asking you a load of questions, how likely are you going to be able to answer them?” Probably not too well!

This explains why when we are in a situation that we can’t see a way out of, or have a problem that seems to be unsolvable, our thinking is not geared to come up with a solution, as our mind is paralysed!

So how do we shake ourselves out of this freeze mode? How do we change our perception from hopeless to hope?

Relaxation techniques help. Sit quietly and focus your eyes on one spot and concentrate on your breathing. This brings you into the “now” and the more you practice, the more you will notice the negative stressful thoughts drift out of your mind and you will feel a sense of calm and relaxation. When we are relaxed, the creative part of our brain begins to work and solutions will pop up!

Another great way is by tapping, using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). It releases all the stuck negative energy inside. Great way to relax and release all those negative thoughts and feelings! And so easy! If you are unsure on the EFT techniques and tapping points, below, is a great link.

It is worth remembering that freeze mode was originally intended to protect from imminent danger and therefore is only meant to last a very short time! Our stressful lifestyles means that we are more likely to go into freeze mode on a long term basis, all that stress gets locked into the nervous system and our health starts to suffer!

So be mindful! Are you in freeze mode? Or are you beginning to  warm to the idea that it is never hopeless because you are never helpless!


Janet Wilks – 2013


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