Are you prone to stress? If so, you know it doesn't feel good, but do you know exactly what's happening to you chemically when you're twisted into a tense state? A new video in the American Chemical Society's "Reactions" series offers a simple breakdown.
When you're stressed, your body immediately produces the hormones adrenaline and norepinephrine to trigger the fight-or-flight response.
After a few minutes, you're flooded with the hormone cortisol, which keeps your body healthy in tense situations, unless your stress continues for too long.
After a while, cortisol, sometimes called the "stress hormone," has the opposite effect, making you more prone to sickness and disease because it inhibits some of your immune responses. An overabundance of cortisol also increases the desire for fatty foods, which can cause you to stress-eat and gain weight, which makes you even more prone to sickness and disease. You may already know about the vicious cycle of these effects, but the video above's a good reminder to take the necessary steps to keep stress levels under control.
And whatever you do, please don't let this story stress you out.