Stress is your body’s reaction to a perceived challenge, and it can create emotional or physical tension in the body. Strange as it might seem, stress can be useful in many cases. It can cause you to respond quickly to remove you from harm’s way or push you to accomplish a goal. Your body reacts to stress by releasing hormones that cause your brain to be more alert. Short-term stress that goes away quickly is necessary for survival because it allows you to handle the situation that is triggering stress. This is your body’s way of protecting itself from danger.
However, chronic, long-term stress can lead to serious health problems. Any type of stress that goes on for weeks or months is considered chronic and can be harmful to your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. People often experience chronic stress due to problems at work, unhappy relationships, or worries about money. You can become so accustomed to living with chronic stress that you might not even see it as a problem until it starts to manifest as more serious problems, such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, or other physical health issues.
When you have chronic stress, your body stays in “stress response mode” even though there is no immediate danger. Over time, this can lead to conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. If you already have a health condition, such as an auto-immune disease or diabetes, too much stress can make it worse.