The 4 responses to threats FIGHT FLIGHT FREEZE FOG

The 4 responses to threats

Did you know there are 4 responses to threats? Whether the threat is real or perceived? That is the way our brain responds when it encounters fear!

Fight, Flight, Freeze and Fog

I think we all know the first three well, but how well do you know the 4th?

That is Fog for Foggy mind.

In my personal experience with the Corona virus global pandemic, I experienced all 4 responses over the past month or so. I lost clients as they’d rather keep their money for basic needs such as foods and shelter, which is understandable.


When our brain perceives a threat, it comes up with ways to fight back. I frantically started finding ways to make up for the lost income. I looked into various ways that could generate income that I haven’t considered before. I attended multiple webinars in the hope to learn tricks that I didn’t know before. In the process, I became overwhelmed by information overload.

Let me give you some details of what I meant by information overload. In a short time, I watched and listened to over 72 hours worth of videos and podcasts of experts talking about ways to create ways to attract clients. They vary from building an online store dropshipping to creating courses that include videos and PDFs, to creating meditation recordings, to running live teaching sessions, none of which I have ever done before.

If you are a corporate professional going through a long period of working from home yet managing a team remotely for the first time, you may be filled with worries/concerns/fears of how to keep the morale and productivity up. Your mind may be racing for ideas on how to stay connected to and motivate your workers while ensuring the errors remain within the regular margins. In terms of information overload, you may be hit with even more meetings (all online of course) as well as emails than before. Although our circumstances are different, we experienced the same feelings, didn’t we?

After becoming overwhelmed, guess what response my brain goes into next?


For several days, I went into a running away mode. My mind came up with all sorts of reasons as to why I should just stick to what I know and not try things that aren’t my cup of tea or else I can hurt my reputation in the process – typical flight response.

As a corporate professional, you may stay quiet during those numerous online meetings and start filtering out the numerous emails sitting in your inbox. You may put some of those emails on follow-up instead of acting on them. This is not a surprising response to the flight mode.

After spending days running away in my mind, guess what came after?


In my experience, this response is one of the most frustrating responses. The inertia is both a blessing and a challenge.

Part of me knew what to do, yet, another part of resisted doing anything. The results were I barely kept up with the things I usually do daily such as posting on social media, reaching out to people, establishing and re-establishing meaningful connections, openly helping to alleviate people’s emotional hurts whenever opportunities aroused. On the other hand, it was great spending time with my family and be fully present with them.

For a corporate professional, you may lean more into connecting with your workers. You likely enjoy learning to know more about them while each one of you hesitates on ploughing through the work. There are more questions as each one wants to be reassured that they are doing the right thing under the unusual working conditions.

From the freeze response, I moved easily into the last threat response:

Fog (as in foggy mind)

The difference between Fog and Freeze is complete inaction. Imagine walking around with an opaque cloud hanging around your head in such a way it felt like it was useless to have fully functioning eyes. I knew what to do and yet, I did nothing. Nothing.

This is the most frustrating mental state ever.

In the corporate world, this is when workers avoid giving concrete updates of the work. Instead, the same questions get asked over and over in different ways.

That was until I settled down and surrendered. There is something wonderful in surrendering to what is. No more inner struggle. Just deep listening and breathing. For the first time, I was able to meditate for 30 minutes straight.

There is something quite liberating in holding space for oneself.

For a corporate professional, this is the time to model leadership by showing vulnerability. Reassuring your workers, it’s okay to feel unsettled as they’re hit hard with both personal/familial and work responsibilities. This situation is the hardest for single parents. Showing understanding and support are crucial steps to keep morale and productivity going.


If you are still overwhelmed, maybe I can help clear the stress, anxiety, worries, etc. Book a complimentary consultation now.


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