Expanding on the Fight or Flight Options

fight or flight mechanism sketch

As a child, I learned about the fight or flight mechanism that is instinctual in animals across the globe. Whether it’s the gazelle who bounds away at the first whiff of lion, or the skunk who sprays obnoxious fumes when feeling threatened, we all understand the basics of how our bodies look out for our safety by developing mechanisms for getting out of dangerous and potentially life-threatening situations.

Yet as humans, we’ve evolved beyond the mental capacity of our animal friends. With that in mind, I wonder if we can talk about expanding the list of fight or flight options that we have available to us in times of dangers.

Here’s my first go at a few possible additions … and I welcome your own additions in the comments below:

  • Fight
  • Sacrifice a friend, neighbor, or family member (throwing under the bus)
  • Offer a bribe
  • Hide
  • Plead wimpiness
  • Flight

Seriously, there have to be an enormous range of options here. What would you add?


  1. Use foul language
    Call names
    Throw things
    Tell him, “let’s take this outside,” and then sneak out the back door
    Call the police

    Note: fight or flight is a single reaction not a choice between to actions. It is a stimulation of your parasympathetic nervous system. It is called that because it usually invokes a fight or a flight response in the organism. That said, these are actual human fight or flight responses:

    Passive agression
    Anxiety or stress
    Panic attacks

    I bring the cheery comments don’t I? 😉

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