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How can college-related stress affect my body?

Daphne Oz
Health Education
When you experience a stressful event, your brain releases chemicals into your bloodstream to help your body cope with the anxiety and fear that result from a perceived threat. Adrenaline is one of those chemicals. When it is released, your body goes into high gear, preparing to deal with the potential danger. This reflexive reaction to stress is known as fight or flight, since our instinctual response to danger is either to engage in battle, or to split. This response is triggered not only when a lion is about to pounce on you, as some of our ancestors experienced. Being anxious about a final exam, an oral presentation, or walking into yet another roomful of unfamiliar faces is enough to set off alarms of danger in our bodies. The muscles in your neck, shoulders, and face may stiffen, creating a kind of internal armor. You may notice your heart racing, your body temperature increasing, your hands getting clammy, or your breath becoming short. These are signs that your body is preparing itself to fight -- or to run for its life.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.