A2B: Make Better Decisions Using The Fight Or Flight Response

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The A2B Newsletter aims to improve your life by taking you from Point A to Point B. Every email shares one self-improvement idea you can read in five minutes or less.

Point A

Studies show that 83% of top performers rate high in self-awareness skills. Unfortunately, only 10-15% of people are self-aware.

Point B

An understanding of the fight or flight response can help you become more self-aware and make better decisions.

The Science

Whenever you experience the fight or flight response, there’s a good chance your emotions are clouding your judgment. Therefore, understanding the fight or flight response and its symptoms can help you identify when you’re not thinking clearly.

Here’s how.

When the fight or flight response is activated, your body directs resources to life-saving functions. At the same time, your body shuts down non-essential functions like digestion and reproduction.

This shift in resources produces physiological symptoms that act as clues suggesting that your thinking is impaired. A few example symptoms are:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tense muscles

How This Information Can Help You Make Better Decisions

By becoming aware of the fight for flight symptoms, you can identify when your thinking is impaired. Then you can wait for your emotions to calm down before making important decisions.

It can take anywhere from 6 seconds to 20 minutes for your emotions to settle, so remember to be patient.

How To Become More Aware Of The Fight Or Flight Symptoms

The following three ideas can help you become more aware of bodily sensations.

1. Focus your attention on certain bodily sensations a few times per day. For example, notice how your feet feel on the floor, your watch feels on your wrist, or your sheets feel against your skin.

2. Notice how different emotions make your body feel. The next time you are feeling strong emotions, pay attention to the sensations in your body. For example, if you are afraid, you might feel a pit in your stomach. The goal of this exercise is to make you aware of the connection between your emotions and your bodily sensations.

3. Figure out what sensations turn off your thinking brain. The next time you recognize you weren’t thinking clearly, try to remember how you were feeling at the time. So, suppose you realize that you had sweaty palms and butterflies in your stomach. In that case, you can use those sensations as cues to question your thinking in the future.

Want More?

My video and article on the fight or flight response are full of additional information.

The full-length versions include:

  • A deeper explanation of the science
  • Real-world examples
  • How to overcome a common problem you might face when following this advice
  • Ideas on how to identify when you might be taking these ideas too far
  • Lots of diagrams and examples

Be sure to watch or read to learn more about the fight or flight response.


Chris Thornham 80/20 Financial Planner
Take Control Of Your Finances

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