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Experts distinguish 4 types of reactions to severe stress. The tendency to each is determined by many factors, including personality type, hormones, and external circumstances. 


Reacting by the “fight” type, a person becomes physically and emotionally aggressive and rushes into a counterattack. They may shout at someone, break or throw things or, in a situation of complete loss of control, even physically attack the person who frightened them. If a person is in such a state, it is useless to prove something to him with rational arguments, first you need to wait until the stress reaction passes and rational thinking turns on.



Reacting like “run”, a person tries to escape from a dangerous situation: he hangs up the phone; hurriedly leaves the room; gathers things, and leaves. If he cannot escape, the tension can manifest itself in chaotic activity, throwing. The person is unable to concentrate, continuously moves from place to place, and fumbles with something in his hands. He can grasp insignificant activities to the detriment of significant ones to “drain” stress hormones somewhere. At this moment, he is unable to prioritize and understand what is better to do first and thinks only about avoiding the frightening object or event by any means.



The reaction to fear “freeze” is the most common. With it, a person can fall into a stupor, “numb with horror”. Or just sit on the couch and mindlessly switch channels. At this point, the brain will try to do everything to disconnect from reality. Also, a person can, without freezing completely, slow down the speed of movement and speech several times, moving with effort, as if “underwater”, often stopping and losing concentration.



The reaction of “give up” in the most extreme manifestation is expressed in the fact that a person can simply “settle down” as if his legs were buckled. The body becomes cottony, consciousness turns off. In a less pronounced variant, a person continues to function, but does not show active actions, adapts to the circumstances in which he got, acts mechanically, and fulfills all the requirements. This reaction is an attempt to become as “good” as possible to survive.