Stress is a regular part of daily life. It’s the way our body reacts to any kind of demand or threat, no matter if it’s real or imagined. It’s a way to protect us, usually called the “fight-or-flight” reaction. Short-term stress is generally harmless and can be very useful in particular situations such as exams, an important presentation or in a car, because it helps us stay focused, concentrated and alert. The problem comes when we are exposed to stress too frequently or over a long period.
Long-term stress disrupts nearly every system in your body, including immune system, digestion or reproductive system. It increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and even speeds up the aging process. The most usual external causes of chronic stress are high-pressure jobs, financial difficulties, challenging relationships or major life changes. The internal causes are pessimism, unrealistic expectations, perfectionism and fear of uncertainty.