The stress response is the body’s way of protecting itself. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, makes you more energetic, and increases your reflexes and alertness. In emergency situations, it can save your life. For example, giving you extra strength to defend yourself or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident.
The stress response also helps you rise to meet challenges. It’s what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, concentration sharpened when attempting the game-winning free throw, or driven to study for an exam when you’d rather be watching TV.
But beyond a certain point, it stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, mood, productivity, relationships, and quality of life.