Our body responds to stress in different ways. The response was first described by two American Doctors Walter B. Cannon and Hans Selye in 1930s. According to their findings, the first reaction to severe stress is what is known as “Fight-Or-Flight” response.
Our body’s protective mechanism gets activated either to fight or flee. That is fight and control the stressor or react to avoid the stressor or the threat of it.
The initial fight-or-flight response alerts us to a danger and in fact is beneficial. This provides us the strength, stamina and speed necessary for the survival.
The stress response is controlled by the Endocrine System. This regulates various bodily functions. Immune, Growth and Reproductive Systems are regulated. Similarly Metabolism, Allergic Response and Stress Tolerance are also regulated.
Any unusual demand on body’s physical and mental resources stimulates the Endocrine Glands – mainly the Adrenal, Pituitary and Hypothalamus glands. They secrete Chemical Messengers called Hormones into the Blood Stream. These Hormones include Adrenaline, Noradrenaline, Cortisol, Testosterone and Thyroxin which are powerful stimulants. They produce variety of physical responses like
- Rapid Breathing (to generate more intake of Oxygen)
- Increased Pupil Dilation
- Higher Heart Rate and Blood Pressure – which gets more blood to the Muscles, Brain and Heart
- Muscle Tenseness – preparing for any action
- Increased blood flow to the key organs dealing with a danger – Brain, Heart and Muscles
- Decrease in blood flow to the Skin, Digestive Tract, Kidneys and Liver – less needed in case of a crisis
- Increased Mental Alertness and Sensitivity – helps in assessing the situation and act immediately
- Increased Blood Sugar, Fats and Cholesterol – for providing more energy
- Rise in Platelets and Blood-Clotting factors – prevents hemorrhage in case of an injury
Unrelieved stress is harmful to our body in the long run and must be addressed to properly.
Stay Healthy, Stay Stress-Free and Live Happily.