What happens to our body when we are stressed

In today’s fast paced world stress seems to be quite common among many of us.  Stress is a natural reaction our body has in relation to daily external interactions. Adrenaline helps fuel this reaction while at the same time helps us deal and solve daily challenges. Chronic stress occurs when stress accumulates from day to day and our glands start secreting Cortisol.  Some of the symptoms of chronic stress are: anxiety, obesity, abdominal pain and spasms, etc.

There are two kinds of stress, “good” and “bad”. What is the difference and effects on the body?


Bad stress occurs when we feel a threat regarding a situation. It could be caused by fear of having a fight with a family member, loosing your job, taking an exam. When we fear something usually, “bad” stress is induced.

Good stress occurs usually when we are extremely surprised (shocked in a positive way), almost always caused from a positive activity.  It could happen when you stay up all night for a few nights to study for an exam and you feel exhausted beyond belief. Chronic tiredness can cause this type of stress, when your body is pushed physically too much. Another example of this kind of stress is when you are very surprised. An unexpected visit from a family member you have not seen in a long time, could cause this kind of stress.

According to doctors and studies our bodies react the same way to good and bad stress, however the reaction to bad stress is stronger and amplified.

When we are stressed, Cortisol, a stress related hormone is released. This is what happens in our body due to stress:

  • senses become more altered
  • pupils enlarge
  • heart rate increases as well as more blood is pumped
  • muscles contract (therefore you start feeling tense)
  • you start to sweat
  • you start breathing faster (this helps with your oxygen intake which in turn activates the muscles) it also helps us talk/cream louder.
  • all of the 5 senses become more alert and aware of the external environment
  • endorphines are released
  • judgement (logical) might be impaired and one might rush to make a quick decision

When one is stressed, all of these reactions occur immediately and involuntarily. The effects of stress can become very toxic, especially when it becomes chronic and the body cannot eliminate it.

There are ways and remedies to relief stress. Doctors say that exercising is the number one way of eliminating stress. When choosing to work out, it is important that you do something you like and enjoy. Whatever your hobby may be: soccer, volleyball, swimming, tennis, or simply going to the gym.

Other recommendations towards relieving stress are:

  • try getting a swedish body massage at least twice a month
  • sleep a minimum of 7 hours a night
  • start your day with a healthy breakfast
  • cut back on caffeine

Remember to focus on yourself as you are most important. In today’s rapid and chaotic society maybe we should actually apply the saying:

“If a situation is fixable, then there is no need to worry. If it is not fixable, then there is no help in worrying either. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”



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