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The Mind and Body's Response to Trauma

We all know the feeling - that moment when the heart begins to race, the breath starts to speed up, and the body begins to feel hot and clammy. It’s that moment when all that we can focus on is the single thing in front of us, as everything else seems to fade away. This response in our mind and body can be triggered by many things. From a shameful moment in front of classmates or colleagues, stumbling across a wild animal while camping, to facing someone who has abused or exploited you. No matter what the trigger may be, the brain has identified a danger, launching the body into survival mode.

Many people have heard of the “fight or flight” response in moments such as these, however the connection between the mind and body is still often overlooked in the ongoing effects of trauma. However, in order to better understand the ongoing effects, it is important to have a basic understanding of what exactly happens during that “fight or flight” experience.