Life or death! How stress can threaten our life.
The consequences of stress on our lives
You start to sweat, your pupils dilate, and your heart beats fast in your chest and races to pump oxygen through the body so muscles respond instantly. You are experiencing an acute moment of stress!
But don’t worry, our body is designed to experience stress and react to it. Stress is the most common form of physiological reaction
among humans and mammals worldwide. Think about a mother-lion in the savannah screaming and running to save the life of her offspring from a fatal attack. She’s experiencing an acute moment of stress too. Many things happen around us and we are constantly exposed to stressors that can come in different forms: mental, chemical, physical, nutritional, thermal or electromagnetic. Our body reacts to these stimuli with physical, mental and emotional responses, which are basically the release of biochemicals running through our blood to help us to cope with a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat. This combination of short-term biochemical reactions
is known as the "fight-or-flight
" response - also called "hyperarousal" or the "acute stress response"
- because it evolved as a survival mechanism, enabling people and other mammals to react quickly to life-threatening situations
. So we may understand stress as a concept, but how does this mechanism look like in our body?