Last week we discussed how being involved in a criminal attack can have a negative effect on our ability to hear things going on around us. And that is just one of the physical changes that can occur when we are confronted with what is called the Fight or Flight Syndrome. There are other physical changes that can have a direct effect on your ability to function and survive a deadly threat.
It is a natural response in humans who are faced with such a threat that the heart rate increases, blood pressure increases and the breath rate increases. At the least, these physical changes can have a negative effect on our ability to function successfully; that is, they can cause us to fumble the pistol presentation and cause us to miss what would have been an otherwise easy shot. In a worst-case scenario, they can cause a heart attack or stroke. Even after the action is over, or the threat has fled without contact, it may take 20 to 60 minutes for these bodily functions to get back to normal.
The first thing to do is to realize that these things can happen and make an effort to calm our body. Realizing that we are taking rapid, shallow breaths, we force ourselves to breath deeply. And we can command our body to calm down — “They told me this could happen and I know just what to do about it.” And, quite frankly, the more one trains and practices, the more able he will be to control the physical panic.
We can also control the increased heart rate and high blood pressure by being in good physical condition. Even just losing excess weight and getting mild exercise increases our ability to avoid a heart attack or stroke that is brought on by a serious criminal threat. Many serious competitive shooters are also runners for this very reason; it helps them deal with the stress of competition.
In short, understanding how the body reacts to a serious threat can help us control it and allow us to function effectively in dealing with that threat. In addition, having a plan for dealing with a violent threat helps keep us somewhat calm and functional. Waiting until the bullets start flying to make a plan is not a winning recipe, nor is it conducive to surviving that confrontation. It is not unheard of for a person to survive the gunfight only to die from a heart attack.
Understand what kind of effect this kind of violent threat can have on the body and work at ways to minimize the stress. Get in as good physical shape as possible to minimize the stress. And have a good defensive plan that helps bring the stressful situation to a quick end.