The Most Useful Skill for Life – How to Shut Off Your Fight or Flight Response

Siim Land

What is the most useful skill for life? If you were to be in a survival situation, you may lose your mind and get overwhelmed by stress. In order to survive, you’d have to shut off your fight or flight response and remain in control. This dexterity will come in handy in every other area of your life.

Surmounting Stress

We all get into stressful situations from time to time – unexpected email, impeding deadlines, being stuck in traffic, almost getting hit by a car, heating arguments or anticipating public speaking.

The body perceives all stress as the same – running away from a lion is physiologically identical to approaching a stranger.

This stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and triggers the ‘FIGHT or FLIGHT’ response, that shuts down digestion, directs energy away from hormonal reproduction and taxes the adrenals.

The problem is that the modern world is full of stressors and most people are in fight or flight 24/7.

Can you shut off your fight or flight response?
Can you shut off your fight or flight response?

The Most Useful Skill for Life

To control your stress response, you have to first take control of your BREATHING.

Controlling your breath gives you confidence to take control of anything else in your life as well.

  • You can shut off your ‘flight or fight’ response
  • You will reduce stress and anxiety
  • You can take control of your FEAR response
  • You can become more mindful and relaxed at an instant
  • You can increase your concentration and focus
  • You can increase your performance in everything you do
  • You will be more conscious in any situation
  • You can make better decisions always
  • You can control your autonomic nervous system

Breathing is the gateway between your subconscious and conscious mind.

The decisions you make in any situation depend on your current level of awareness – how conscious and present you are – and the solution to becoming more aware starts off by first becoming mindful of your breath.

How to Shut Off Your Fight or Flight Response

There are many ways of taking control of your breath that take less than 4 minutes to take effect.

I’m going to give you 2 simple and quick exercises.


There are 4 stages, each one lasting for 4 seconds.

  • Inhale to the count of 4
  • Hold for 4
  • Exhale to 4
  • Hold for 4 again
  • Repeat

Check out the video:


Do about 25-30 repetitions of the following breathing exercise:

  • Max inhale (raise chest) and
  • Let go exhale (drop chest sharply).
  • You’re breathing in a whole lot of air but you’re exhaling just a little bit.
  • Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. The let-go breath is a short “hah.” You may experience mild lightheadedness and tingling in your fingers.
  • On the last breath cycle, breathe in completely, exhale completely and hold your breath for as long as you can.

The Wim Hof Method will help you reduce stress, increase your ability to stay in control, improve your focus and make you feel amazing.

Check out the video:

Control Stress or Be Controlled By It

Doing these exercises for even just a few cycles will DRASTICALLY improve the quality of your life. It teaches you mindfulness and enables you to always stay in control of what happens to you.

At the end of the day, you’re either in control or being controlled. If you’re stressed out and in fight or flight all the time, you’ll never get an opportunity to come off the constant cycle of feeling burnt out.

Control your stress or be controlled by it.

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Stay Calm and Stay Empowered!