When stressed, we experience a heightened sense of arousal and a range of emotional responses from feeling motivated to achieve, through to being overwhelmed, irritable and anxious. Stress can also cause physical symptoms such as muscle tension, head and stomach aches, nausea, sleep disturbance and fidgetiness.
Stress is not always bad. From an evolutionary perspective, stress activates our autonomic nervous system, responsible for the “fight or flight response” crucial to an animal’s survival. In today’s society, stress can make us work harder, meet deadlines and complete tasks that might otherwise remain uncompleted.
But excessive or persistent stress can be harmful to our physical and mental health.