Updated: May 1, 2020
When we become stressed or under pressure the brain sends out a signal to the adrenal gland to produce adrenalin and cortisol.
Adrenalin is then secreted into the blood stream which trigger, your heart rate and lung capacity to increase while working in harmony to pump extra blood and oxygen to your legs and arms, which is preparing your body for the “fight or flight” response – Fight or flight is there to protect you from danger so your muscles are more reactive to do just that, fight or fly (run).
Cortisol is also released at the same time, which is fuelling your body with extra energy that has been stored away for such a situation. Cortisol regulates the blood sugar levels and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory in case the body is harmed or injured.
The brain does not know if you will be harmed or not but as we are just animals by nature, the only things that would cause us harm, back when we were just cave people, would be a predator.
As we have moved through the ages and evolved, we now have more things that will trigger stress.
Due to this extra energy that is created in the body, you may feel like you’re full of energy or shaking perhaps? Hot or cold? This is because your body is preparing to fight or run.
What happens to our bodies when we are stressed?
If this is happening to you several times a day, then you are going to lose concentration, feel tired, experience a loss of appetite – the body does not require food when preparing to run or fight and so appetite and digestion is decreased and this is why you may feel sick or want to go to the toilet, sometimes the body wants to evacuate what is in the stomach to make its job easier - if there is no food in the stomach, it doesn't have to work, so the body can spend more time and energy keeping you alive.
The brain is not required to be intellectual in an uncomfortable situation so you may feel that you can’t think straight.
What causes stress?
Every day activities can bring on stress e.g. targets at work, driving/traffic, your child becoming ill, unexpected bill, exams etc. etc…. your brain and central nervous system doesn’t know the difference between real physical harm or a mental or emotional threat to your self, and its how you as an individual cope with that response that is critical to understanding how to make improvements and changes.
You are an individual and so it’s how you interpret that which will tell your body how to respond.