Stress is as natural to life as breathing. Stress is a natural reaction of the body to perceived harmful situations. Our minds and bodies have evolved to shield us from danger in the best way it knows how.
In a natural environment, when the stress-inducing incident has passed, our body returns to its normal functioning, which is known as a “relaxation response.” That chain of events is not harmful and is mostly even beneficial.
However, most of us live in anything but a ‘natural environment.’ Our ancestors did not have to deal with a barrage of non-physical threats day in and day out as we do.
Even though these pressures may not acutely threaten our lives, they still cause the same stress responses. The absolute downside is that because the stressors are almost continuous, there is rarely a recovery period.
In a nutshell, that is the difference between natural, ‘acute’ stress, and the damaging and deadly ‘chronic’ stress. Our stress system was not designed to protect us from chronic stress. In treating all perceived threats as ‘stress’ our protection system actually causes us great harm.
If we cannot learn to reduce and/or control chronic stress, we subject our minds and bodies to a large range of issues. These can be damaging in themselves, but they also accumulate and worsen other conditions.
Ultimately, chronic stress shortens lives and greatly diminishes the joy of life itself, physically, mentally and emotionally.