Psychology: 3 Warning Signs You’re Stuck in Functional Freeze Mode

3 Signs You’re Trapped in Functional Freeze Mode

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When we are stressed or afraid, our organism usually has three possible reactions – depending on which psychologist you ask: Fight, Flight or Freeze. With fight we go into confrontation, with flight we quickly flee the situation. And in freeze mode we freeze, but at the same time we are very attentive to the “danger” that is currently stressing us or causing us fear.

In particular, people who suffer from “high-functioning anxiety disorder” often remain in this frozen state. In this case we speak of “functional freeze” mode, because from the outside you often don’t notice how stressed or overwhelmed these people are at the moment. They function normally, may even appear in a good mood and meet the expectations of those around them.

There is often strong pressure behind it to be “normal”, not to stand out – and to function. We may then just manage to cope with our everyday lives, but very quickly reach our limits and are more easily overwhelmed than usual. We feel numb and not connected to ourselves and our surroundings. You can recognize the “Functional Freeze” condition by these signs.

These warning signs mean you’re stuck in functional freeze mode

1. You are overwhelmed even with small decisions

A typical sign of this condition is being overwhelmed with actually small, unimportant decisions. Pizza or pasta? Start a new series or would you rather watch TikTok videos for hours? If these questions feel like you’re draining all the energy from your body, that could be a warning signal. Even if you don’t notice it and friends find it rather quirky, such behavior can indicate “Functional Freeze” mode.

2. You withdraw a lot

Can you manage work, family and mandatory appointments, but beyond that you prefer to keep to yourself? Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking enough time for yourself. But we need a certain amount of time with those around us in order to stay healthy and happy in the long term. If you withdraw a lot from your environment or suddenly take a lot longer to respond to messages, this can be a signal that you are currently very overwhelmed.

3. You live on autopilot

The autopilot is a frequent companion of the “Functional Freeze” state. We complete our tasks automatically and get through everyday life with our routine without thinking too much about the individual steps. But we are not really present, and usually not really emotionally or mentally engaged, but rather live as if on autopilot. When we are so stressed that we “freeze” in “freeze” mode, life often passes us by like a film without us consciously taking part in it.

This can help you out of the “Functional Freeze” state

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