It happens to everyone from time to time: a thorny issue sprouts up, a worry takes root. Soon those roots dig in so deeply and spread so wide that they leave little room for anything else to grow. Worrying, searching for a solution, and forecasting the future move from preoccupation to full-time work.
When that starts to happen, it’s critical to call a timeout, explain stress experts Herbert Benson, MD, and Aggie Casey, the medical editors of Harvard Medical School’s Stress Management Special Health Report. Certain hormones fuel the body’s stress response (also dubbed “fight-or-flight”), speeding breathing and heartbeat, directing extra blood flow to the brain and muscles, perking up the immune system, and triggering other changes that prepare your body to respond to a perceived threat. At times, the stress response is appropriate and necessary, helping us rise to meet physical and emotional challenges. But stress hormones that are triggered too often or stuck in overdrive can fuel worrisome health problems—from headaches and heartburn to high blood pressure and heart disease. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*