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A telltale thump of the heart, the flush feeling that starts in your chest and spreads to your fingertips, the tightening of muscles and the quickening of breath: The effects of adrenaline are positively pulse-pounding, but the physical whoosh we feel in our bodies actually starts in our brains.

The connection between what the mind perceives and how the body reacts is a curious relationship. Adrenaline flows into our autonomic nervous system when it anticipates that something bad is about to happen—not because something bad is already happening. This hormonal offensive was an essential survival tool for our earliest ancestors that came with our fight-or-flight response, which defends us against immediate threats.

By preparing our bodies to manage danger, these rushes precede both the impending action and our response to it. After all, if we were only filled with jittery energy and super-human strength once that stressor was actually upon us, we’d be sitting in the pit of a saber-toothed tiger’s gut.

  • Words:
    Jordan Kushins
  • Photography:
    Aaron Tilley
  • Set Design:
    Kyle Bean

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  • Words:
    Jordan Kushins
  • Photography:
    Aaron Tilley
  • Set Design:
    Kyle Bean
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