We might think that stress is just an inevitable part of working and living in the modern day, but it can be harmful if not properly managed. Stress is common but it should not go ignored. First, it's important to understand that stress is our body's natural response to threat. "This is often called 'fight, flight, or freeze,'" Dr. Sherry Benton, psychologist and founder and chief science officer of online therapy service TAO Connect, told POPSUGAR. "Under normal circumstances, we return to normal functioning after a short burst of action. However, when stress is constant and persists over long periods of time, all kinds of bad things can happen."
What exactly are these "bad things?" First off, adrenaline and cortisol (the stress hormones) can rev up your heart - but long-term stress can be especially dangerous as ongoing, high cortisol levels can lead to the following issues:
According to Dr. Benton, the longer stress goes unmanaged, the worse the consequences are on your health. Chronic stress that lasts even a week or more may result in anxiety, insomnia, and digestive problems. If it persists for longer periods of time, more serious mental and physical health concerns, such as depression and heart disease, can develop. "Managing stress is essential to long-term health," she said.