How To Not Freeze Under Pressure
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How To Not Freeze Under Pressure


How To Not Freeze Under Pressure Have you ever been described as a “deer
in the headlights”? When faced with a difficult or stressful situation,
do you mentally lock up or “freeze” unable to respond? Sometimes, when faced with a situation that
calls for fight or flight, the human brain instead decided to choose neither, causing
you to mentally shut down rather than come to terms with the problem at hand. Have you ever wondered what causes this, and
by extension, how you can stop it? Well today, here at Bestie we’re about to
find the answers. Before we start, be sure to subscribe to our
channel and click on the notification bell. That way, you can always stay in the loop
and up to date on all of our daily videos and content. No two brains are alike, and it goes without
saying that everyone learns how to process and deal with stress differently. So why is it that, when faced with a stressful
obstacle or challenge, some people opt to completely freeze up and go into shutdown
mode? As it turns out, there might be an interesting
piece of psychology behind this particular stress response. As Dr. Leon F. Seltzer explains in Psychology
Today, people typically respond to what they perceive as threats using what is known as
the “fight or flight response”. The fight or flight response is an evolutionary
tactic that we as humans developed in order to continue our survival against the world’s
many dangers. When a threat emerges, our brain immediately
kicks into high gear, and within mere milliseconds assesses what kind of threat we’re facing. If the threat is something our brain thinks
we can confront, it chooses Fight and prepares us for the battle by pumping our bodies full
of adrenaline. If the threat looks like something that can’t
be fought and can only be avoided, our brain chooses Flight instead and tells us to get
away from whatever is threatening us as fast as possible. However, Seltzer points out that there is
sometimes a third variety of stress response, which he refers to as the Freeze response. The Freeze response occurs when our brain
sizes up a threat and decides that it’s something we can neither fight off or run
away from. Instead, your brain chooses the only other
option, which is to lock up and hope for the best. While this might seem like a poor solution
to a problem, the Freeze response does seem to hold an evolutionary purpose. If you found yourself cornered by a hungry
predator, freezing up would at the very least help numb you out so all those pointy teeth
don’t hurt quite as much. If you don’t run or put up a fight, they
might even lose interest and leave you alone. If we can’t prevent a problem or painful
confrontation from happening, we can at least block out as much of it as we possibly can,
which leads to our brains choosing the freeze response. Of course, there are still quite a few situations
in which locking up and numbing yourself won’t actually do any good. If you have a tendency to freeze up when your
boss gives you an important decision or ultimatum, for example, that will probably only serve
to make an already stressful situation worse. In these instances where our minds lock up
at bad times in response to stress, that’s when we need to devise ways to work past the
stress response of freezing and learn how to cope with those situations differently. While Seltzer points out that the freeze response
is typically more common in children, it can still continue into adulthood in the form
of anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, and examples of obsessive-compulsive behaviour. In these cases, these responses represent
a freeze response that never had the chance to “thaw out” as we got older, and started
gaining the necessary tools and experience to deal with our problems in different ways. A tendency to become paralyzed during certain
kinds of stressful situations could also be a possible symptom of post-traumatic stress
disorder, or PTSD. So what can we do to stop ourselves from freezing
when it comes to stressful or challenging scenarios? Well, if your brain has a habit of locking
up at the most inappropriate times, it might just be a matter of making sure you have the
right tools to unlock it– we are, of course, talking about seeking out mental health professionals
who can help you figure out where your freezing tendency is coming from and suggest ways to
work around it. Let’s look at an example from psychologist
Eva Patrick and the American Psychoanalytic Association: While explaining to a therapist
your most recent example of being paralyzed when faced with something stressful, they
might ask you to walk through the event again in slow motion, recognizing and making notes
on what the was feeling during the event, what triggered those emotions, and how you
responded to them. Once you’ve had the opportunity to slow
down and reflect on your responses in detail, you can start working backwards to identify
other situations which made you feel similar, rewinding through your memories in order to
track down the potential root cause that first taught you to freeze up in the first place. Once you’ve managed to unpack the factors
that lead you to freeze up, you can start being more aware of your responses to stress
and anxiety and develop different habits when it comes to processing them. And while it won’t happen overnight, being
consciously aware of your feelings and responses will help you learn to recognize and adapt
your behaviour. In other words, be aware of your feelings,
and don’t let yourself get locked out of your own mind. So what do you think about this topic? When faced with tough obstacles or stressful
situations, is your brain more likely to pick fight, flight or freeze? Are there any other tips or strategies that
you’ve been able to use to get over the freezing response that you feel comfortable
sharing? If so, head on down to the comments section
below and keep that conversation going! And as always, feel free to share this video
with anyone you know who might find it useful or interesting.

About Bill McCormick

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7 thoughts on “How To Not Freeze Under Pressure

  1. So what do you think about this topic? When faced with tough obstacles or stressful situations, is your brain more likely to pick fight, flight or freeze? Are there any other tips or strategies that you’ve been able to use to get over the freezing response that you feel comfortable sharing? If so, head on down to the comments section below and keep that conversation going! And as always, feel free to share this video with anyone you know who might find it useful or interesting. 🙂

  2. My job is very stressful when my boss is on me or tenants I freeze up and get paralyzed when I get to that stage I can't think and I can't perform I just going to my bedroom shut the door and put my music on real loud

  3. I'm 47 years old and I freeze up all the time. I recently tracked it back to when my parents fought and my mom would run to my room and ask for my protection. I was a 10 years old child, asked to protect my mom from a mean drunk. What else was I supposed to do but to freeze up ???? Now, as an adult, I've perfected this survival mechanism and that child re surfaces when I'm trying to deal with grown up things. For me, I think that the slowing down trick would help most. When I freeze up, I need to slow the room down and realize that I'm a strong, accomplished rational man who can deal with this. And I'll try to tell my inner child. " It's okay my little cub, I've got this. Let me deal with this."

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