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9 Signs Someone is in Survival Mode

Stress is common among people today. However prolonged and unresolved stress can lead us into a “Survival Mode” state of mind. It is important to know what Survival Mode looks like so that you can identify it in yourself or in a friend to get the help needed. Here are 9 signs that someone is in Survival Mode.

Unresolved Stress

The biggest and most telltale sign of someone being in Survival Mode is a feeling of prolonged stress. According to the Jefferson Center, this is different from normal stress, as in this case the stress does not fade away or have a simple solution. It is usually this kind of stress that tends to cause the rest of the signs.

Forgetting to Eat

Survival Mode will slow or even stop a lot of the normal functions that a person’s brain does. It will prioritize trying to “fix” whatever is causing stress. In doing so many people will forget to eat and not even realize that they are hungry. 

Unable to make Decisions

One of the most challenging parts of being in Survival Mode is making simple decisions. When a person’s brain is hyper-focused on its stress, it becomes challenging to make even the smallest of decisions like what to eat for lunch or to use a pencil or a pen.

Feeling Unmotivated

Sparked by the challenge of decision-making, motivation will often begin to fade for those in Survival Mode. Finding motivation in all walks of life will become difficult from doing good work, or even getting out of bed.

Desire for Numbness

According to the Rosenzweig Center for Rapid Recovery, these high-stress levels will often lead people to a desire to feel numb. This is something that many people will begin to look for through alcohol or drug use.

Lack of Focus

In a state of mind like Survival Mode, it is hard to focus on any one task. People in Survival Mode may find themselves struggling to stay on task.

Memory Issues

High levels of stress and trauma are commonly known to cause memory issues. Survival Mode is no different, as people in Survival Mode may find themselves forgetting or struggling to remember small things throughout their day.

Mood Swings

People in Survival Mode will find themselves experiencing a wide variety of emotions. Often experiencing mood swings as a result of their brain being hyper-focused on the stress, rather than maintaining emotions.

Inability to Relax

Lastly, someone in Survival Mode will find it difficult to relax. They will struggle to calm themselves in any environment, still being hyper-focused on the stress that their brain is trying to deal with. 

If you think you, or a friend, may be struggling in Survival Mode you can look for these signs. The best thing you can do to begin the healing process is to reach out for help. You can reach us here at Valley Oaks through any of our outreach services.

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