Unit 2 Assignment
There are three main responses in a situation where a person feels anxiety and these are fight, flight and freeze. They were originally named when humans needed to be alert to danger and fight or run away from it for survival, however they are activated today through anxiety which is also known as the Acute Stress Response.
This is a set of reactions to a real or perceived threat, and can induce physiological symptoms including feeling sick, sweating, faster breathing and increased heart rate. Additionally it can also impact the mind through feeling tense, having a sense of dread, worrying about panic attacks and depression. These occur to a greater or lesser degree but there are tools and methods, often requiring practice, which children, young people and adults can utilise to manage and lower the symptoms of their anxiety.
When a child or young person is asked to do something they don’t want to do, certain responses occur and some of these are similar to the responses of the adults in the video who were instructed to start dancing. Some of the group were happy to participate, however others were not comfortable and responded in different ways including removing themselves from the group by walking out of the space, or sitting down outside of the circle. This would be a flight response and can also be seen in young people who may leave the room with no explanation and may also display some frustration or anger on their way out by shouting, running or slamming a door behind them.
Another response seen in the video was a freeze response by some participants who stood still, folded their arms and avoided looking at anyone by looking down at the floor, except for a brief look around the room to see who else is feeling the same way, they make eye contact and then look down again. This occurs in situations with young people who may fold their arms, look down, sit down if standing, shuffle their feet and not speak, and shake anyone off either physically or by shaking their head and continuing to stay silent.
Finally fight response, this wasn’t very apparent in the video but saying ‘I’m not doing that’ to the facilitator could demonstrate it. Often with young people the fight, flight, freeze responses could be combined, for example when asked to do something they are uncomfortable with, a young person could stand in front of the facilitator and say/shout “I’m not doing it” and then proceed to leave the room which could show fight and flight.
It is important to remember that children and young person’s reasons for not wanting to participate can be broad, including not understanding what is required of them, feeling uncomfortable with the people or the space or the task, or not feeling listened to. And the responses that surface immediately in those moments are connected to anxiety, which can be recognised by both the participant and facilitator and managed with practice.