The physical side of stress

Stress & the body

The human body is hard-wired to react to stress in a way that is designed to protect us against life threatening events or aggressors. This is called the “fight or flight” response. Today, these types of extreme threats are rare, but our bodies have evolved to respond to everyday stressors (workload, managing finances, family challenges) in the same way - by activating the fight or flight response.

When our stress response is activated, the hypothalamus sets off our internal alarm system which triggers the release of a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline causes an increase in your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts your energy supply. Cortisol increases sugar in the bloodstream, increasing the body’s availability of substances that repair tissues. It also suppresses the digestive system, reproductive system and growth process. This alarm also communicates with your brain and how it controls fear, motivation and your mood.

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