Stress is the physical and mental response of the body to demands made upon it. It is the result of our reaction to outside events, not necessarily the events themselves.
Not all stress is bad. We each function best and feel best at our own optimal level of physiological arousal. We need some stress to get everyday things done. Too little can lead to boredom and “rust out” – but too much can lead to “burn out”.
Adaptive stress helps us rise to life’s challenges. Adrenaline, nor-adrenaline and glucose flow into our blood. We get a buzz of energy and feel alert, focused and creative. Negative stress occurs when our ability to cope with life’s demands crumbles. If we don’t break down the stress chemicals (e.g. through physical activity), they stay in the blood, preventing us from relaxing. Eventually, this results in a permanent state of stress. That initial buzz turns to worry, irritability or panic. Challenges become threats; we doubt out ability to do even simple things and problems appear insurmountable.