To illustrate modern flight or flight reaction let’s meet George.

George with worries

George had been told that he might lose his job due to the company relocating, if he lost his job he would have less money and would struggle to pay his mortgage.

George has COPD and has had some time off work due to ill health, he thinks another employer would not give him a chance. These worries started to affect his sleep. He experiences increased anxiety particularly when the post arrived with another bill. He feels physical responses - his heart is racing and he is nauseous. He starts to feel that his current home and job security were under threat. He knew he was being irritable with his wife and family but couldn’t help himself. George's thoughts about what might happen lead him to feel vulnerable and sad. He stopped going to meet his friends because he was worried about spending more money.

Although he is not under immediate threat, George is ruminating on lots of ‘what if’s’ which created changes in his physiology, physical responses, thoughts, feelings and actions.