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As human beings, we are often faced with situations that require us to act quickly and decisively in order to survive.
But do we have innate survival instincts that guide us in these moments?
In this blog post, we will explore the concept of human survival instincts, their origins, and how they manifest in our behavior.
The Evolutionary Basis of Survival Instincts
According to evolutionary psychology, the traits that helped our ancestors survive on the Savannah Plain some 200,000 years ago are still present in our psyches today.
These traits include an instinct to fight fiercely when threatened and a drive to trade information and share secrets.
In an uncertain world, those who survived always had their emotional radar turned on. Stone Age people, at the mercy of wild predators or impending natural disasters, came to trust their instincts above all else.
That reliance on instinct undoubtedly saved human lives, allowing those who possessed keen instincts to reproduce1.
The Role of Emotions in Survival Instincts
For human beings, emotions are the first screen to all information received.
In an uncertain world, those who survived always had their emotional radar turned on.
And Stone Age people, at the mercy of wild predators or impending natural disasters, came to trust their instincts above all else.
That reliance on instinct undoubtedly saved human lives, allowing those who possessed keen instincts to reproduce.
Our body’s instinctive reaction to a perceived threat is to put our arms in front of our face and upper body.
This is a natural response that is hardwired into our brains and nervous systems.
It is a survival instinct that has helped us to protect ourselves from harm for thousands of years.
Examples of Hard-Wired Human Instincts
There are many examples of hard-wired human instincts that help keep us alive.
For example, the “fight or flight” response is a natural reaction to danger that is hardwired into our brains.
When we perceive a threat, our bodies release adrenaline and other hormones that prepare us to either fight the threat or run away from it.
Another example of a hard-wired human instinct is the instinct to seek out food and water when we are hungry or thirsty.
This instinct has helped humans to survive in environments where food and water are scarce.
The Limitations of Survival Instincts
While survival instincts can be incredibly useful in certain situations, they can also be limiting.
For example, our survival instincts may cause us to react impulsively in situations where a more measured response would be more appropriate.
Additionally, our survival instincts may cause us to perceive threats where none exist, leading to unnecessary anxiety and stress.
Overriding Our Survival Instincts
It is important to note that we have the capacity to override our primitive survival instincts.
We are capable of experiencing courage, thinking critically, and making rational decisions even in the face of danger.
In conclusion, humans do have survival instincts that are hardwired into our brains and nervous systems.
These instincts have helped us to survive in a variety of environments and situations throughout our evolutionary history.
However, it is important to recognize the limitations of these instincts and to be able to override them when necessary in order to make rational decisions and act in our best interests.Sources: