That response to stress, good or bad, is called the fight-or-flight response and it is designed to help humans get out of stressful situations quickly.

When the danger is gone, everything goes back to normal and adrenaline and cortisol will no longer be released into the body. Roller coasters are an example of how we willingly trigger that response for fun.

Stress that is negative or harmful to us can be broken down into two categories, acute stress, and chronic stress.

Acute stress is stress that occurs short term, it is the stress that we feel when a situation causes us distress. Acute stress is the typical stress that people encounter and deal with on a day-to-day situation.

Chronic stress is stress that is long term and very damaging to the human body. The body’s response to stress is supposed to be just to get us out of danger, but when a person is subject to chronic stress, the body is in that fight-or-fight mode for extended periods of time, causing damage.

Chronic stress can lead to a weakened immune system, diabetes, hair loss, heart disease, obesity, sexual dysfunction, ulcers, hyperthyroidism, anxiety disorders, periodontal disease, and insomnia.

Both acute stress and chronic stress can cause weight gain, weakened immune system, heart disease, high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke, increased chances of psychosomatic illness, emotional problems such as mood swings, anger outburst and depression, declining cognitive functions, insomnia, the tendency to overeat, and a chance of reaching a breaking point, either total burnout or a mental breakdown.

Some of the symptoms of stress and ways that stress can make us feel are headaches, lingering colds or an increased tendency to become sick, you have trouble sleeping at night, you have trouble thinking clearly, you feel anxious in general, you feel overwhelmed, feelings of frustration, moodiness, and a lowered sex drive. You might find that it is harder to think and that you make mistakes more.

Living with stress is not normal and it is not something that you have to do. You can manage your stress and you can make some changes to your life to help cut out some of the stress before it even begins.

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