Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life. A small amount of stress can be good, motivating you to perform well. But many challenges daily, such as sitting in traffic, meeting deadlines and paying bills, can push you beyond your ability to cope.
Your brain comes hard-wired with an alarm system for your protection. When your brain perceives a threat, it signals your body to release a burst of hormones that increase your heart rate and raise your blood pressure. This “fight-or-flight” response fuels you to deal with the threat.
Once the threat is gone, your body is meant to return to a normal, relaxed state. Unfortunately, the nonstop complications of modern life and its demands and expectations mean that some people’s alarm systems rarely shut off.
Stress management gives you a range of tools to reset and to recalibrate your alarm system. It can help your mind and body adapt (resilience). Without it, your body might always be on high alert. Over time, chronic stress can lead to serious health problems.
Don’t wait until stress damages your health, relationships or quality of life. Start practicing stress management techniques today.
There is a problem with
information submitted for this request. Review/update the
information highlighted below and resubmit the form.
From Mayo Clinic to your inbox
Sign up for free and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips, current health topics, and expertise on managing health. Click here for an email preview.
To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which
information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with
other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could
include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected
health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health
information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of
privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on
the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.
Thank you for subscribing!
You’ll soon start receiving the latest Mayo Clinic health information you requested in your inbox.
Sorry something went wrong with your subscription
Please, try again in a couple of minutes
Nov. 18, 2023
- How stress affects your health. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/health. Accessed Dec. 8, 2021.
- Manage stress. MyHealthfinder. https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/health-conditions/heart-health/manage-stress. Accessed Dec. 6, 2021.
- What is stress management? American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/what-is-stress-management. Accessed Dec. 7, 2021.
- Managing stress. National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Individuals-with-Mental-Illness/Taking-Care-of-Your-Body/Managing-Stress. Accessed Dec. 8, 2021.
- Stress. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/stress. Accessed Dec. 6, 2021.
- AskMayoExpert. Stress management and resiliency (adult). Mayo Clinic; 2021.
- Stress and your health. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. https://www.womenshealth.gov/mental-health/good-mental-health/stress-and-your-health. Accessed Dec. 9, 2021.
- Seaward BL. Essentials of Managing Stress. 5th ed. Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2021.