The Stress Response

The stress response is the body's natural fight or flight response.

Stress hormones are released and a number of symptoms of stress occur. Stress for too long leads to stress-related illnesses.

The fight or flight response serves as a protective function in emergencies, especially physical threats.

But many of today’s causes of stress are emotional!

You may be feeling stressed out with too much to do and not enough time?

Perhaps you’ve have had a fight with a friend or family member, or your job is getting to you and you are worried about your finances?

The response may not be the most appropriate way to manage stress!

Here we look at:

You don't need to be passive to the effects of stress. Take action today to deal with stress.

What is the stress response

stress response

The stress response serves an important function and has been in important for the survival of the human race.

Just the other day I was reminded how important the stress response is.

Walking down the street, in my own little world…ironically thinking about this website, I stepped off the curve of the road without looking.

Suddenly I was assailed by the sound of tires screeching as the driver jammed on his brakes and pumped his horn.

In that moment my fight or flight response was activated and I noticed a number of physical effects of stress as my muscles tensed, my heart started to pump harder, and I was suddenly very alert.

At the same time stress hormones were released into my blood stream.

The fight or flight response serves an important function and has been in important for the survival of the human race.

Our ancestors who narrowly escaped the jaws of a saber-tooth tiger to live another day can give thanks to the boost of adrenaline that gave them strength and focused their senses.

But surely it is different today?

We need stress about as much saber-tooth-hunting gear, right?


But what are some of the saber-tooth tigers of today's world?

What are some of the saber-tooth tigers of today’s world

We have all heard stories of little old ladies lifting cars off children and other superhuman feats of strength that are put down to the effects of adrenaline and the stress response.

While many of us don’t have to face life-threatening stressors, we do live in a world that can be every bit as threatening.

Main Causes of Stress

Financial Stress

Work Stress

Public Speaking Anxiety

Test Taking Anxiety

Caregiver Stress

College Stress

Holiday Stress

Teen Stress

The today's main causes of stress are not physical!

The main causes of stress are emotional!

In a national poll conducted by the American Psychological Association, Americans rated the main causes of stress as financial concerns, family responsibilities, work stress and the state of the economy.

It may be the boss yelling at you, or you've lost your keys again, or are stuck in traffic, or are late for an important meeting.

Whatever it may be…whenever you get annoyed, frustrated or angry - these may be times when the stress response is activated.

The predators of today’s world are very different to what our ancestors faced.

What if You can’t turn the stress response off?

Look on the front cover of any national paper, turn on the TV or browse the internet, and the news is full of stressful events.

You have to be on a very small island in the middle of the Atlantic not to know that stress is a fact of life...

BUT stress does not have to be a way of life!

Life can be challenging, balancing work and family, not to mention the persistent worries about finances or job security.

This means the fight or flight response can be turned on a lot of the time.

This is the alarm phase of the general adaptation syndrome (GAS).

While you may think you are traveling well and adapting to the higher and higher stress levels, you could simply be living with an unhealthy amount of chronic stress.

If you don't get rest, recuperation or relaxation then this will lead to fatigue, exhaustion and stress-related illness.

Unrelenting Stress = Fatigute, Exhaustion and Illness

The body’s constant state of alert and ensuring stress symptoms can affect your ability to work effectively, develop and sustain relationships, and affect your overall health.

Stress has been implicated in some of the following stress related illnesses include:

Having and understanding of the physical and emotional effects of stress reinforce your determination to practice stress management skills and maximizes your chances of mastery over your stress!

Search for more tips for reducing stress here

Related stress management articles

types of stress Types of Stress

Not All Types of Stress are Bad for You

cortisol and stress Cortisol and Stress

How Cortisol and Stress Affect Health

More stress management articles

Definition of Stress: What is and Adequate Stress Definition

Eustress: What is Eustress or Good Stress?

Click here to return from the stress response to what is stress

Click here to return from the stress response to the stress management homepage

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.