Stress is a physical response that takes place in the body when it thinks it is under attack and switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing a complex mix of hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine to prepare the body for physical action.
This causes a number of reactions, from blood being diverted to muscles to shutting down unnecessary bodily functions such as digestion. With the release of these chemicals, there is often a rush of energy, which prepares you to either fight or run away.
The feeling of the heart pounding and fast breathing is the release of adrenaline; as well as a boost of energy all serve to focus the mind to respond to the situation.
The challenge is when the body goes into a state of stress in inappropriate situations which can lead to the inability to ‘think straight’. Long periods of being in a state of stress can be detrimental to our health.