WP Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight?


Given my own battles with an anxious mind, I could not resist today’s “Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight”. Much is written in medical literature and layman’s self-help books about how the “flight or flight” response served us well in the cave man era. Fortunately most of us no longer have to worry about being eaten alive by any sort of large mammal. Unfortunately, now the biggest stalking predator we have to face is our own mind.

Serendipitously,  today a friend posted the following on Facebook: “FEAR = Forget Everything and Run or FEAR= Face Everything and Rise. The choice is yours.”

Although I appreciate the thought, the use of the word “everything” in those acronyms is not at all practical. It is not always the best choice to run, nor is it always the best choice to fight. Life is not usually that black and white. And the grey matter between our ears complicates it even more!

When fear is generated internally, in ones’ own mind, therein lies the problem. Dealing with an external fear, the choice is usually easy if one wants to survive. But what of all those  anxious,  fearful, ruminative thoughts? Nothing much more scary than that.

In my experience, the more you try to avoid or take flight from those thoughts the worse off you will be. If you fight them, you create even more stress. What seems to work best is neither fight nor flight, but to just “ride the wave”, let the thoughts come,  acknowledge them for what they are, and ride the wave to calmer waters. Realize all they are is just strange thoughts in a tired mind.

As I write about fight or flight issues, I cannot help but think of my blog title. I want to write with wanton abandon, but I also have the fear that if I do so I may be flirting with disaster. Okay maybe not disaster, perhaps just some embarrassment. So far, I am glad I “felt the fear and did it anyway”. I am hanging on and riding the wave!

11 thoughts on “WP Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight?

  1. I love riding the wave idea. I feel that is what I do (while dreaming that I am on the beach watching them). I can not fight or flight, I must stay connected and riding the wave is a good way to think about it.


  2. “What seems to work best is neither fight nor flight, but to just “ride the wave”, let the thoughts come, acknowledge them for what they are, and ride the wave to calmer waters.”

    Brilliant, beautifully-crafted post that resonates so with me. A fantastic metaphor that I can relate to even literally, since I am often out in the heavy surf. It is indeed futile to fight against an incessant onslaught of pummeling 20-ft waves, and it is also ridiculous to try and out-swim them and hurry back to a distant shore, panicking in the rip-tide. Aye the problems only increase, the fear gaining strength, that way. The only real foe I have out there is my own mind. Relax, let the waves carry one in- Aye! To surf those great waves in, letting their energy take one into the calmer waters- just ride the wave- exactly how I tend to view life. Too groovy!

    Wonderful write. I am so glad you are taking the bold plunge and wantonly writing away, despite that trepidation- happy to have found you. Looking forward to discovering more fabulous writes.

    Many smiling cheers,

    Autumn Jade


    • Autumn Jade,

      I appreciate your comments / compliments on the “fight or flight” post. Sadly I am land-locked, but I love water, especially the sea. It soothes and calms me when I get the rare chance to be near it, so perhaps that is why the metaphor of riding the wave came to be.

      So glad you found me here, so I in turn could venture over to your blog and experience the brine, as you say. Fabulous writing, and photos on your blog. I am looking forward to journeying to the sea, and riding the waves with you while I am there.

      Thank you for bringing the sea to me,


  3. “disaster” is a very dramatic adjective for …wanton wordsmithing gone astray…! I love all of the adventures I’ve found via clever turn of phrase 😉

    A side note … I think you may have coined a new tongue twister: “I want to write with wanton abandon”, “I want to write with wanton abandon”, “I want to write with wanton abandon”, “I want to write with wanton abandon”,


    • Okay, “disaster” should be reserved for tragic deaths, floods, tornadoes, and other life-ending events. I should have used the phrase “flirting with danger” instead!

      Try saying “Mrs. Wood wants to write with wanton abandon.” Tricky!

      Thanks for stopping by my blog Denis, as always I appreciate your attention to detail and sense of humour!


  4. I love your tackling of the idea that one must do one or the other. I have to say nothing vexes me more than black and white blanket statements. You can always find exceptions to the rule.

    Resistance is futile especially when it comes to anxiety, racing thoughts and energy. Physical activity helps but you are so right that acceptance, and letting yourself feel what you are feeling is often the best solution, but sure not the easiest. Who has to time just sit with an emotion these days? 🙂


  5. I also must say when it comes to risk taking with writing, as you very well know, some of the best writing comes from that which must not be said…


    • AGREE! 🙂 The last writing course I took, the instructor told one of the participants that sometimes what cannot be told in an adult book can be told in children’s fiction. Think about that. Interesting!


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