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Updated 15 March 2013

Why do we experience a stress reaction?

Stress is the response our bodies experience as we adjust and adapt to our continually changing environment. It is aimed at helping us to survive and even thrive in our world. That’s why all living things have survived up to now!

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Stress is the response our bodies experience as we adjust and adapt to our continually changing environment. It is aimed at helping us to survive and even thrive in our world. That’s why all living things have survived up to now!

It has physical, mental and emotional effects on us and can create positive or negative feelings. As a positive influence, stress can coerce us to action. It can result in a new lease on life and an enthusiastic creative approach to our work and environment, enabling us to enjoy life intensely.

As a negative influence, it can result in feelings of fatigue, distrust, resentment, bitterness, rejection, anger, and depression, which in turn can lead to health problems such as headaches, upset stomach, ulcers, skin rashes, insomnia, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and stroke.

With the death of a loved one, a move to a new environment, the birth of a child, a job promotion, or a new relationship, we experience stress as we learn to readjust and manage our lives. In so adjusting to different circumstances, stress will help or hinder us depending on how we react to it. Stress helps us to adapt to change, the only constant in life!

The stress response isn't all bad. When functioning properly, it is very good for you. Problems develop when your stress response overreacts or keeps acting when it's no longer needed. The deciding factor lies in your ability to handle it.

 

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