Everyday life is full of surprises. Excitement, happiness, pain and grief are part of everyday life. Just fear and surprise! Moreover, there are different and rather interesting reactions that we give to the events that we encounter in everyday life, and to the emotions that we experience. One such reaction is shortness of breath when we are frightened or agitated. Okay, but why? Why does a spider appearing out of nowhere, or someone suddenly and silently tapping us on the shoulder, make us feel like we’re out of breath, why doesn’t it let us breathe? Let’s find the answer to this interesting question together…
To choke in the face of events that cause fear or panic is an inborn reaction!
However, behind our shortness of breath when we are in fear, confusion and panic, there is an extremely powerful survival mechanism: the fight or flight response!
The fight-or-flight response is a natural reaction that occurs when faced with a potential danger or unexpected event.
Accordingly, our body prepares for two possible reactions in case of danger. First, fight, as the name suggests. When our brain decides to fight in the face of danger, we are ready to act in such a way as to eliminate the danger. In the flight response, we make an effort to leave the scene of an accident or a dangerous situation as soon as possible, that is, to run away.
Interesting biological reactions occur in our bodies both during the fight and during the flight.
The fight-or-flight response occurs when a part of the brain called the amygdala is activated, which is responsible for managing all emotions, especially fear. When the amygdala is activated, it sends various danger signals to the hypothalamus, which is also called the “command center” of the brain. The hypothalamus, on the other hand, activates the “sympathetic nervous system,” which is activated during moments of fear and panic.
Here, when the sympathetic nervous system predominates, there is an incredible increase in biological responses that begin with stimulation of the amygdala in our body. Our bodies release adrenaline, our pupils dilate so we can see better. Also, our heart starts to work much faster than usual. Because in times of danger, our muscle groups need oxygen to a much greater extent than usual. Therefore, our breathing speeds up. So we are out of breath!
Breathing in the face of a potential danger or exciting event is one of the biological and physiological changes that take place in our brain and body!
So, suffocating in danger is a natural and necessary reaction that has helped humanity survive any danger for thousands of years. However, this survival response can sometimes occur when there is no real danger. For example, a spider that we encounter suddenly, or a loud noise that coincides with a brooding memory, can also make us short of breath.
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