In the times of our ancestors, the fight or flight nervous system was very important for helping us avoid predators. Our digestions stops so blood can go to our muscles, our reactions become very abrupt and emotional so we don’t think too long before deciding to run away from the tiger, we become hyper-aware of our environment, which makes it hard to concentrate on one thing… you get the picture.
People who suffer from posttraumatic stress get stuck in that branch of the nervous system. It’s as if the trauma gets stuck in their bodies, and until they release the trauma the nervous system continues to operate in fight or flight mode. Remaining in this state for too long can lead to a number of mental and physical problems, ranging from poor digestive health, to pain, to anxiety. It can also predispose people to re-traumatization because they are seeing the world through the eyes of “something terrible is going to happen.”