Stress is something I’ve been intimately acquainted with since I was a teenager. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to perform to a high standard, and often end up losing sleep due to stress. Since I’m working on decreasing stress in my life, I thought it would be interesting to look into how it actually affects our bodies and our brains.
Here’s what I found out.
Stress is normal, and sometimes even good for us
Stress affects pretty much all of us at some point in our lives. The funny thing is, positive events like getting married or starting a new job can stress us out.
Stress isn’t always a bad thing, though. In some cases it protects us from danger—in fact, that’s the whole point. Stress is a leftover survival technique that we don’t have as much use for now. When we commonly fought for survival, our fight-or-flight mode (triggered by stress) was imperative.
These days, the problem comes with having more stress in our lives than we need. Since we rarely need to be in fight-or-flight mode, our body’s stress reactions can become problematic when they’re too strong or happen too often.