Stress is your body’s response to events that make you feel threatened. When you sense danger—whether real or imagined—the body’s defenses are activated in a rapid, automatic response known as the “fight or flight” reaction, or the stress response. During this time, your body releases stress hormones called cortisol and adrenaline, which cause your heart to beat faster, your muscles to tighten, your blood pressure to rise, your breathing to quicken, and your senses to become sharper, all in order to prepare you to either fight or flee from the danger at hand. Some stress is good, for example, when the car in front of you stops unexpectedly, and you instinctively slam on the brakes to avoid an accident. But when stress starts to occur without direction, it can become a serious problem for both your physical and psychological health.
Unfortunately for us, stress can be caused by a number of factors. Chemical stress (such as diet), emotional stress (such as loss of a loved one, nervousness, etc.), mental stress (negative outlooks, racing thoughts), and physical stress can all take a toll on our bodies and our minds. However, identifying what causes our stress is the first step to managing that stress. So try keeping a journal of how you feel throughout the day; you may start to notice patterns in your behavior that lead to stress.