Flight, Fight or Freeze - How Your Dosha Type Governs Your Stress Response.


Stress is one thing that no person born on this planet has been able to escape yet. As opposed to the popular misconception, Stress is not what's thrown at you, but determines your personal response to the world around you. Stress is all about how you react to different situations and the same situation would bring about different responses in different individuals. And according to the ancient medicinal science of life Ayurveda, this response is totally dependent on your 'Prakriti' or your dosha type. 

So what really is Prakriti or dosha type?

To explain this I will have to give you a briefing about the doshas. Ayurveda has classified three main biological energies operating in our bodies as doshas. These doshas are the combinations of the five elements present in the universe and in our own body.

Vata dosha is the energy of mobility and formed by the combination of Space and Air. You can see that anything that requires movement is going to need some space for the movement to take place + motion to carry the transmission.

Pitta dosha is the energy of heat and transformation and formed by Fire + water. Heat is the one factor that can transform different forms of matter and is evident in the melting of ice to water and evaporation of water to steam.

Kapha dosha is the principle of cohesion known and is formed by the combination of water and earth. This is also the main nutritive principle in the body as both water and earth are the main causes life was able to take hold and be nurtured. 

Now that you know a little bit about doshas, we can talk about Prakriti. The proportion of the doshas in your body determines, which one or two or all three are dominant and can express themselves. This dominance in your body and mind is expressed as Prakriti or your natural state and remains as your true nature. In this article, I am going to briefly describe each of the single dosha types and also the stress response they each exhibit.

Vata dosha:

People who have Vata as their dominant dosha are light and swift as the wind. They have lean, thin, and cool bodies and trouble gaining weight, which makes them even faster. Vatas are impatient as all activities are carried out pretty fast, often several at a time which makes Vatas multi-taskers, but the short attention span make them loose interest easily. Vatas also have a wandering mind that runs a few hundred miles per second and can often feel spacey, scattered and unfocused.

Vata's Flee:

If you are a Vata type, your response to stress will be to run away or flee from your stressor. This fleeing can be seen as a physically running as fast as you can in the case of an event of a physical danger or being in denial and running away from your problems and issues without dealing with them in case of an emotional stressor.


Pitta dosha:

People who have Pitta as their dominant dosha are born sharp and bright as the sun. They are radiant often reddish in appearance with warm bodies, medium height and built. Pitta's are intelligent and often sharp and precise in terms of appearance, speech as well as actions. Pitta's are often very reactive in nature and prone to bouts of anger and irritability.


Pitta's Fight:

Pittas are born warriors and some fight till their last breath. Pittas are usually sharp, analytical and gifted with intellect and the stress response as a Pitta type is to fight either physically or mentally with all your strength. Physically fighting the stress can be taken as continuing to go on and not giving up or giving yourself enough rest through a stressful period thus exhausting yourself completely, whereas in case of a mental or emotional stressor the response would result in being angry, irritable, trying to fight back by drawing more conclusions thus leading to further mental fatigue.


Kapha dominant: 

Kapha's are usually round, heavy, calm and peace loving people who hate spending extra energy. Most couch potatoes who hate to move their bodies belong to this group. They are happy-go-lucky and pleasant personalities who love to have fun, be happy and are totally non-confrontational. Kaphas are usually a little slow to function and often take their sweet time even for routine activities. Note that the movements are slow and this doesn't make them any less smart, but Kapha's due to high amounts of water and earth in their being have heavier bodies and sluggish minds.

Kapha's Freeze: 

A classical Kapha response to stress is like a  'deer in front of headlights'. They just freeze. A Kapha person, when faced with a physical stressor would just freeze on the spot, often being unable to move or run or fight, whereas an emotional- mental stress response of a classical Kapha person would be to shut down and just go to sleep without dealing with the stressor.

So what is your response when you get stressed? Do you flee, fight or freeze? The answer lies in your dosha type.