*Please note- this blog post was written during my time at Brain Fit Academy Inc. I have since continued this amazing work under my own company- Brain FUNdamentals LLC. I hope you enjoy!
Deer are beautiful, majestic animals, aren’t they? Sleek bodies, stealthy stride and deep, mysterious eyes. But what happens when deer are afraid? The “deer in the headlights look” we call it.
The sleek body-frozen
That stealthy stride- stopped in its tracks.
The eyes- a blank stare.
So too- can a child have that look. That “deer in the headlights look”. You probably know someone that gets that look. Maybe it’s your child, a friend’s child, or maybe it’s even you! Does it happen when they are facing a test? Does it happen when they are in a new environment? Does it happen when a friendly person just simply says “Hello!”?
What is it about this look- this fear? Where does it come from?
It comes from one of the most primitive responses humans have- the Fight/Flight/Freeze response. Recognize that last word? Freeze??
That’s right- that “deer in the headlights” look can stem from an unintegrated (not finished) Fear Paralysis Reflex- the “freeze” in the Fight/Flight/Freeze. Meant to protect the mother and fetus during times of stress, this early reflex should complete its job before a baby is even born- giving way to more sophisticated reflexes.
However, if the Fear Paralysis Reflex doesn’t integrate, doesn’t finish its job- a child can grow up with difficulties that can make life…make joy…a lot harder. Difficulties like:
- Low tolerance for stress
- Illogical fears
- Sleeping difficulties
- Constant feelings of being overwhelmed
- And yes, even possibly that “deer in the headlights look” when someone simply says “Hello!”
Here’s the thing though. We can do something about it! We can take the body “back in time” and finish that Fear Paralysis Reflex. Using intentional movements, we can pick it up where it left off and finish it.
And what does that do? It helps that frozen, stopped in their tracks, blank stare child to become-
The stealthy, sleek, beautiful being they are meant to be…