Stress is an expected human response to challenging or dangerous situations. There is good evidence that humans have evolved over time to be able to experience a range of stressors and recover from them. This capacity is known as ‘resilience”.
Experiencing stress is part of being alive. Some stress, such as meeting a challenge or deadline can actually be helpful. It can lead to increased alertness, energy and productivity. A complete lack of stress can lead to reduced motivation and performance.
Stress triggers off the ‘fight or flight’ response, preparing the body to take action against potential danger. Hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released, causing the heart rate, metabolism and breathing rate to speed up. This works well for short-term threats but if the stress response goes on for too long, it can have damaging effects on the mind and body.
Stress can be caused by our circumstances or by our own attitudes and expectations. In today’s world, some people seem to thrive on stress but many others report high levels of stress with negative effects on their health. If stress is greater than our ability to cope, it can lead to physical and mental health issues and cause problems with relationships and work.
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