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Taming Your Stress Response from Huntington

man holding many brief cases, in stress reactionWhat is the human stress response and why is it important?

When we talk about stress today, we are usually referring to the pressures we experience in daily life. These can be the pressures to earn a living, pay our bills, meet the demands of raising a family, live up to the expectations of people around us or care for aging parents. They can be daily pressures, such as a traffic jam, disrespectful co-workers or being asked to do things we’re not good at. They can come from the environment — poor lighting or noise — and from our minds.

We experience stress when we perceive something as threatening. The threat may be to our life or well-being, but it can just as easily be a threat to an important relationship or our standing at work.

People are unique in that in addition to physical threats, we can experience social and psychological threats as stressful. And this is important. The human stress response developed as a survival mechanism. If you’ve ever been threatened and felt that rush of strength and energy that made you more physically capable than you have been at other times, then you’ve experienced the body’s stress response. We hear about it in news stories about people who rescue someone by lifting a heavy object, like a car.

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