It will automatically interpret this as if there was something to run away from – even if the threat is imagined, insignificant, a part of a phobia, anxiety, delusion or a minor setback.
The brain will put things on the scales and determine you were willing to expend energy for running away and panic and conclude there is danger. This loops back on itself and enhances the anxiety and stress response, leaving you in fight or flight for far too long. Choose to face things and not run. Use your judgement to discern if you should react on your instinct to flee. So many times we run from ridiculous things just because we feel uncomfortable for a second. The best things are quite often positioned on the other side of fear and anxiety, the barriers that guard the gates of the unknown and yet unexplored. This is where the magic happens.
You might be naturally more prone to negative emotions aka more neurotic, and it’s usually a female thing (with a reason because life was extremely dangerous until our last chapter of history for most its inhabitants, even if you were a 6 foot muscle packed hunter). If you run away from a situation you’re taciturnly admitting and convincing your whole body chemistry that you’re a helpless victim of something being chased and in danger. If you choose to rationally look at this thing (despite the fear) , assess the situation and choose to face it (willingly choosing to do so is key) you get empowered. You might not be completely safe and there may indeed be some form of danger, real physical, emotional, financial or mental damage pending, but your brain works better, you’re more savvy, resourceful, stronger and more protected against pain (in any form) as cortisol of fight or flight is replaced by dopamine, endorphins and serotonin while you stride towards something and not away from it as it held power over you. Most monsters we face today are self-made, overblown projections of things that could be handled if we were just willing to step out to the plate and override the instinct to run. This fear is an ancient thing wedged in our biology that flickers on in our everyday lives when there is no need for it in a large majority of cases. It’s meant to be a burst of panic to get you out of a seriously dangerous circumstance. After the threat passes it should subside and allow you to calm down but, as we humans live in the past, present and future in our brains, we manage to be in constant panic mode for 30 year mortgages or a bad relationship experience ages ago.
Don’t let your brain see you run. You can control your mind, breathe yourself to calm and think rationally to make a different choice. In his Meditations, Marcus Aurelius said: “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”