Fight or Flight Questionnaire
This fight or flight questionnaire awakens you to your state of well-being and your own sabateur. It has 43 questions and a self-evaluation at the end. It can be very helpful to bring to your therapist or to contemplate on your own. We highly recommend you dedicated yourself to the path of liberation from tinnitus by increasing your well being starting today. Membership provides you with coaching (either personalized or self paced) so you can begin liberating yourself from tinnitus starting today…
Non-members can see questions 1-5 so that you can get to know us better before joining.
This is designed to help you become aware of the fight or flight response and start recognising what state you are in. Select the answer that most corresponds to your prevailing state of being.
When I sit still on my own with no external input, and focus on how I feel, I notice:
A Racing thoughts and tense uncomfortable parts of the body.
B Racing intrusive thoughts with floaty, spaced-out, surreal feelings.
C Some thoughts arising, and I can feel many parts of my body.
D Calm, clear mind with occasional thoughts, and a centred feeling throughout the body.
If you think of your body as a house and your mind as where you are, where are you based most of the time:
A Firmly in my head and in my thoughts.
B Only in my thoughts, all over the place, elsewhere, not connected to my body.
C In parts of my body eg head, heart etc and in my thoughts.
D Throughout my body from where I can watch thoughts come and go.
How flowing and regular is your digestion?
A Often feel blocked, bloated, with irregular movements.
B Often get uncomfortable diarrhoea or constipation or both.
C Steady, comfortable and regular gut that occasionally gets upset.
D Generally strong, reliable gut with regular, easy bowel movements.
How well can you focus on a conversation in a pub with lots of background noise?
A Background sound gets in the way making it hard to hear.
B It’s a cacophony. Get me out of here!
C I can focus well except when things get too rowdy.
D Its easy to stay really focused. A lot is needed to distract me.
How well do you cope in a totally silent and still place?
A I find it a bit unnerving, and prefer noise or activity around me.
B I am threatened by it. My ears start ringing and I prefer company.
C I quite like it once I’ve got used to it.
D Its deeply nourishing and really helps me settle and focus.
A carpenter is scraping, sanding and sawing in your living room. Sometimes he drops tools onto the floor, which make a loud clinking sound. How do you react?
A I’m irritated by it and can’t wait for him to finish work. I can feel my stress levels rising.
B I find the noise almost painful. It grates on my nerves and the sudden loud clinks make me jump. I don’t know if I can bear it any longer.
C I can put up with it no problem and get on with other things. When there is a loud noise, I am briefly distracted but then revert back to what I am doing. I am glad when he finally leaves however and relax.
D I stay focused on what I’m doing pretty much the whole time.
You walk into your hotel room late at night and notice the air-conditioner is droning away. Its too hot outside but inside the air is lovely and cool. How do you react?
A I go to bed and sleep badly because the air-conditioner keeps me up.
B I don’t sleep a wink. I feel irritated by the noise which keeps me up all night.
C I eventually get used to the noise and sleep quite well. When it changes gear in the night I rouse sometimes, but quickly fall back to sleep.
D The noise is not a problem. It immediately recedes into the background and I stop noticing it. I sleep really well.
What best describes you prevailing mood?
A I have to sort things out or get away from it all. I feel ratty and am prone to quick knee-jerk reactions. I want to get away.
B Fearful and anxious. I can’t see a way out of this. Overwhelmed.
C I feel a bit up and down, but generally okay.
D I feel calm, clear and centred, yet am deeply affected by things.
You have an argument with someone, leaving you feeling angry. How dare they say that? They’ve got you completely wrong… Afterwards how do you react?
A The conversation replays itself over and over again in my mind. It takes hours to stop hearing so and so’s voice ranting in my mind. Each time it comes back I get a little bit angry or anxious again. I need a good programme or a good chat to take my focus off it.
B The voice sounds like the person is still in my room. I can’t switch it off. It hounds me a little and I am stress out by it, possibly for days.
C Gosh that was revealing! I replay the conversation a couple of times in my mind and feel a bit pissed off about it for a while. Soon I am able to focus on other things.
Even when you are not doing sport, your heart often:
A Thumps strongly in emotional situations.
B Seems accelerated and weak.
C Feels strong, slow and clear speeding up with emotion.
D Stays strong, calm and clear most of the time.
You body tends to feel:
A Jumpy, reactive, like a live wire
B What body? I guess it must be numb. I’m not here and feel remote.
C Comfortable, but gets tense in stressful periods.
D Peaceful and most parts of it I feel clearly.
If you stand up and look at yourself in the mirror, your body looks like it is:
A Stiff and tense with lifted shoulders, clenched fists, jaw and tongue.
B Caved in, stooping, head dropped, face turned away, knees in, clenched fists over heart, bracing yourself against something.
C Straight, even shoulders, relaxed face. Ready to respond
D Standing tall with an open chest and neck, legs wide, relaxed back.
A Intense and alert, busy and a bit shifty. Constantly on the look out. Furrowed brow.
B Wide-eyed and remote or disengaged. Frowning constantly.
C Engaging and focused. Sometimes distracted by things around.
D Still, clear and powerful, noticeable. Calm others with your gaze.
Your face typically looks like it is:
A Red, hot and sweaty, and reactive. Changeable.
B White, ashen, clammy, sunken, cold and dry. Mask-like.
C Rosy and warm. Comfortable with good circulation.
D Beaming and neutral or slight smile.
Your mouth often:
A Tastes bitter, metallic, and you often feel like rinsing it or brushing your teeth. You salivate a lot. You react to strong tastes.
B Tastes bad, feels dry and uncomfortable. After-tastes linger and bad tastes come back to haunt you a bit.
C You only really notice taste when eating or drinking.
D You can taste in great detail.
You walk through a shopping centre and smell perfume, aftershave, cooking meat, air-conditioning, the toilets, an unclean person. How do you react?
A It gets right up my nose and I can’t wait to get out into the fresh air.
B I feel sick and dizzy from the sensory overload. Get me out of here!
C I only react to the smell of the unclean person and feel a bit disgusted then forget about it.
D I notice all the smells and move on.
You’re walking down a street and an ambulance siren goes by.
A You flinch and hear echoes of the siren in your mind for a while afterwards.
B The noise goes round and round your head for hours to come. You can’t seem to switch it off. At times you think you can still hear it.
C You brace yourself as it goes by and wait for it to disappear and then quickly forget about it.
D You’ve already let go. You’re experiencing how things are right now.
How well do you feel your body is able to fight off illness?
A You feel run down and get ill quite a lot. Your body is not bouncing back as well as it could.
B You’re burnt out. There are no more resources. The only thing that is manageable just now is withdrawing from work etc, and resting, eating and sleeping.
C Your body feels quite strong and only the big challenges set you back. You recover steadily from illness.
D You feel on top of things, have plenty of strength and immunity stored away in your reserves. You fight off most bugs easily and heal quickly.
No matter what age you are, your energy levels feel:
A At a low ebb and I am generally tired.
B Frazzled. Just answering the phone or going shopping is too much.
C Okay, as long as I sleep well and have the odd break.
D I have plenty of energy stored away in my reserves and can pull it out of the bag if need be.
What is the overall tendency for your body temperature?
A Warm in the heart but cold hands and feet.
B Cold pretty much everywhere.
C Warm everywhere except when cold.
D Good circulation all year round.
What’s it like for you just to sit still for an hour?
A A waste of time. I get fidgety. Too much to do. I feel guilty.
C Sometimes its tough, other times I feel really relaxed.
D An opportunity to really connect with what is there and let go of it.
My prevailing mood is:
A Short tempered & angry. I often need to take off, get away.
B Despair. Constantly down. I’ve given up.
C Not bad. Bounce back readily. Sometimes up, sometimes down.
D Contemplative, appreciative of life, loving, in touch with others.
A typical night is:
A I wake often and feel groggy in the morning with some nightmares.
B Sleep badly with frequent nightmares. My mind won’t switch off.
C Sleep well most nights and usually feel refreshed in the morning.
D Sleep peacefully with powerful positive dreams, recharging deeply.
When resting my breathing is:
A In my upper chest and belly. I often sigh and breathe quite heavily.
B In my upper chest and is shallow and rapid.
C Often in my belly and chest and is deep and slow.
D Centred in my belly. My breathing is deep and slow.
How much pressure do you put yourself under?
A I barely get everything done that I need to in a day.
B Its too much. I can’t cope.
C Enjoy challenges but allow myself to let go and relax often.
D I am genuinely happy to work with whatever arises.
How much downtime do you allow yourself to notice how you are?
A Too busy. I prefer to distract myself with TV, friends etc. Can’t sit still.
B Never. My mind is always racing and my body can’t relax.
C Sometimes I do nothing and switch off. Feel much better for it.
D I often just sit still and contemplate how things are inside.
How do I feel about noise, people, movements, life around me?
A Irritated. I want it to leave me alone.
B Overwhelmed. I cannot stand it any more.
C No big deal. That’s life. I’m okay with it.
D I feel calm, very connected and open to respond if need be.
Someone strongly disagrees with you and calls you a ****!
A Retaliate and fly into a temporary rage.
B Implode, feel victimised, and feel affected for hours/days.
C I get a bit ruffled but try to manage the situation by understanding.
D I calmly consider where they are coming from.
Where do you place your attention most of the time?
A In my head. I live there all the time. I’m very focused on my thoughts and the body is down there somewhere, and feels a bit tense and irritating with its aches and pains.
B Out there. I live in my thoughts and spend long periods of time in my imagination. I’m elsewhere, far away. Deep in thought. There is little focus inside the body.
C In my head sometimes, other times in my heart or guts. It depends on what is going on and how relaxed I am feeling. The focus shifts about.
D The awareness is centred in the body and interactions with people and situations around have an impact throughout the whole system.
How do I see the world about me?
A My eyes are constantly darting about checking for danger. I really notice things moving in my environment about me. I’m easily distracted by them.
B I daren’t look. I try not to see what’s there. Its too much. Things look unclear, blurred, scattered…
C I see clearly in a focused way and in detail, and I am only distracted by things that are out of the ordinary.
D I can look deeply into things and feel my internal response to them.
What’s your reaction to opportunities that take you slightly out of your comfort zone and stretch you somewhat?
A I take on too much and get stressed out as I’m out of depth.
B No way! Can’t go there. I’ve had one challenge too many.
C I grow and develop with them but also know when to say no.
D I don’t turn away from what arrives but also allow myself time and space to process afterwards, returning to a state of well-being.
How do you react to coffee, tea, chocolate?
A Makes me feel very switched on to the point of feeling nervy, jumpy, and a bit trembly. I don’t sleep well afterwards.
B Makes me feel queasy, dizzy, spacey and sometimes tired.
C I need one in the morning to get me going, but feel fine afterwards. Two or three cups leave me feeling wired.
D Feel okay with or without stimulants.
Diabetes aside, how do you react to eating sweets or having a fizzy drink?
A My pulse goes up, my heart thumps and after a mild high I feel tired or low and crave more sugar. I think I am mildly addicted to it.
B My head spins and I feel dizzy, spaced out and a bit sick.
C I get a bit of a rush but I’m okay, especially if I do some exercise.
D I may feel a slight lift but I am not affected too much by sugar.
A It makes me nervous and sleep badly. I become angry and emotional easily.
B It may lift my mood for a while but then I my mood drops and I either want more or am left feeling depressed.
C It frees me up socially, but I never sleep as well and feel a bit ropy in the morning.
D I react moderately to alcohol but bounce back easily.
A I’m swept along by a rapid river of thoughts and find it hard not to stop worrying about things. I want to slow down but can’t.
B Thoughts never leave me alone. There’s no space. My mind is like a racing train stuck in a dark tunnel.
C Thoughts come and go like clouds in the sky with occasional thunderstorms and showers.
D I’m aware of clear space with thoughts arising out of the blue and then disappearing back into the blue.
A I fill it with frantic activity, and feel tired at the end of it. Can’t bear to waste time or miss an opportunity to do something productive.
B I am consumed with powerful thoughts and feelings and don’t really notice the space at all.
C I have a bit of a break, relax, organise some things to make the space enjoyable.
D I hang out in the space and feel peaceful. Having nothing to do or nowhere to go is fine by me.
You are at the airport about to go on holiday. There is a long queue at check-in and you have just found out your flight is delayed by 1 hour. How do you react?
A I feel frustrated immediately. Waiting to get to the end of the queue is really irritating and I feel fidgety. “Are they always this slow?” I ask the person next door. As usual I have chosen the slowest queue. Why do I always do that? I have a quick grumble at check-in when I eventually get there.
B This is purgatory. I knew I should never have decided to go on holiday. What a bad start! What on earth is going to happen next? I should have stayed at home.
C No big deal. Admittedly it’s a bit of a bore having to wait around but I’m really looking forward to getting there.
D This happens from time to time. I watch what is going on around me with interest. I’m not in a rush. I’ll get there eventually. I start reading a book.
You find a website with someone who you think can help you. A few lines in you decide what they are offering is really interesting. What do you do?
A Before you know it you have picked up the phone, and have decided that unless they put you off, you are going to try it out.
B This fills you with dread. A part of you really wants to get in touch and find help, but another part of you is suspicious and afraid of being taken for a ride. You stress about this for a day or two and then pick up the phone begrudgingly. Here we go again….
C You read the whole website carefully. Then you talk to your partner about it and then pick up the phone when you have made a decision.
D You finish reading the whole website and do a bit more research. You leave things for a couple of days and once you are sure, decide to get in touch and find out more.
You are busy and have lots of things to do today. How do you manage this?
A I immediately set to work, ticking things off my list and trying to get as many things done as possible. I feel under pressure and I can’t wait to get it out of the way.
B Oh God, how am I going to cope? Maybe I’ll do some tidying up first or phone a friend.
C I decide what I need to do urgently and focus on that first. Then I tackle some other things before stopping and having a break.
D No problem. Its all in hand. I really enjoy what I do and get all that I need done with plenty of time to spare. I generally don’t have too many things to do.
The bus breaks down on the way to a meeting. How do you react?
A What’s going on? I get up and go and speak to the driver. He doesn’t know. This makes me angry. So I get off and take another bus or get a taxi.
B Oh no! This means I am going to miss the appointment. What if I can’t get there at all? This could be absolutely disastrous. What am I going to do? Poor people the other end. I’m sure they will be really put out.
C I sit and think for a while and consider how long I am going to wait before taking action. I think about alternative arrangements and whether I need to find out more. Maybe things will sort themselves out….
D If I’m late I’m late. I can always call the person I am meeting. I’ll see what happens. Meanwhile back to my book….
You are feeling relatively okay. You sit down and watch the news. By the time the programme is finished you feel:
A A bit wound up. You are quick to start complaining about the injustice of it all. The appalling images affect you and you sigh and shake your head. You stay in a bit of state for a while afterwards. You are no longer feeling okay.
B Really upset by what you have seen. Even after the news is over you can’t stop thinking about those appalling scenes and how hopeless things are. The news really depresses you and wears you down. And yet you efl drawn to watching it.
C This is the way of the world and it is tough. You feel for the people who are suffering, but you are generally able to bounce back and re-establish a sense of well-being quite quickly.
D Its terrible. Life is full of suffering. Deep acceptance of this is the only way to deal with it. You really notice how the news affects you clearly and then let go deeply and re-centre yourself.
Unexpectedly you have an afternoon and evening free with nothing to do, and nobody to meet. Your home is clean and tidy, and there is just empty space stretching ahead of you. How do you react?
A What on earth am I going to do? Phone a friend, read a book, cook something perhaps? What’s on TV? The last thing I want to do is sit back and just daydream, or stare out of the window, or have a long siesta. Sitting alone with nothing to do is a bit scary. I feel lonely and want to fill the void with activity. Silence is overwhelming.
B I don’t think I can stand being by myself. I feel wretched and lost. I can’t wait for X to appear at the door. But then having people around me is a pain too. I don’t feel good alone and yet it is hard having other people around me.
C Wow, a whole afternoon to myself to relax, let go and unwind. I’ll have a bath and a sleep and then just potter, maybe watch some TV. Let’s see what I feel like doing…. How great to have some down time. If I get lonely I’ll call a friend.
D I often spend time alone and this is another opportunity just to sit and become aware of how I am, catch up with how I feel and what’s going through my mind. I’m really appreciative of this space to just sit and become aware. I like my own company and silence and empty space is fine.
Being stuck in red-alert drives symptoms like tinnitus, chronic tension in the body, digestive disorders, sleeplessness, moodiness and hyperactivity. It feels like your life is a never ending sea of trouble-shooting, trying to manage too much with little or no space to slow down or stop. Even if you have lots of time to yourself, you fill it with responsibilities, tasks, things to achieve, money to make, problems to solve.
It is hard to sit still and be at peace or feel okay about doing nothing in this state.
This state of emergency uses up your resources and can slowly lead to exhaustion. Until you learn to switch off and let go symptoms may get stronger.
You may need help in learning how to let go and get in touch with how you feel inside. Yoga, tai chi, pilates classes may be enough to help you settle down and start being okay before you take action. A body-based therapist can really help you come out of this state and settle back into well-being mode.
This is also known as freezing response, or parasympathetic shock. In this state it feels like everything is on hold and you have imploded or withdrawn away from life. Everything is too much. You have gone beyond the stress threshold of fight or flight above and have collapsed into a surreal world of powerful thoughts and spaced out feelings, and often feel hounded, hunted, attacked, in danger, fear or anxiety.
It is often hard to stop the relentless thoughts and powerful emotions that fill the day. You often worry about people being angry with you or out to make your life difficult. You may feel like you have done something wrong.
The body is like a workhorse that lets you down and often it feels numb and a bit disconnected from you. You may find it hard to feel happy, motivated or experience pleasure.
Its hard to sleep or recharge in this state and there are often feelings of exhaustion mixed with negative emotions. There is no more energy in the pot and you need to establish a clear programme of support, healthy diet, lots of rest, greatly reduced amounts of stress. There may well be a need to rethink your living conditions, work, lifestyle to suit your deeper needs more fully.
If you are in this space then therapy is definitely worth engaging with. There may be deeply held issues that you need to unpack in the therapy room. Less invasive and more sensitive body-based approaches like Craniosacral therapy may be very helpful for you.
Here you have the ability to rise to the challenge and then switch off and recharge. When presented with danger, threats or something to worry about, you have the energy to deal with this and the ability to regain your composure and well-being afterwards.
You are able to enjoy life and find things manageable. If you are in this state it is hard for stress-related symptoms to take root.
Your emergency energy supplies are in good stock and your immunity batteries and charged up. Life is okay in this state.
Either you had a blessed life with masses of support, guidance and freedom to find your feet, or you have done a lot of work on yourself and have found a deeper inner path that connects to the larger picture.
There is more than enough well-being to want to reach out and help others. You may be of great strength to organisations and groups of people as well as to your friends and family.
Your actions and intentions may reach far and wide and you may find things falling into place with positive coincidences opening to you. Of course life is a challenge like it is for everyone, but an awareness of the larger picture and your positive contribution brings great inner wealth.
Life is awe-inspiring and deeply moving.
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