In general, stress is a normal response of the body to negative events in everyday life. There usually are two types of stress in a person’s life:
This type occurs within a span of a few minutes to a few hours after an event. It lasts for a short period of time, usually less than a few weeks, and is very intense.
Chronic stress is characterized by a prolonged period of time due to ongoing or recurring events. During stress, the body activates reactions and releases hormones that initiate several actions within seconds. This bodily response helps it enter a state of heightened readiness and reactivity to danger, but during this reaction, it shuts down systems that are not of primary importance in the body, such as digestion, reproduction, and growth.
If stress doesn’t subside quickly, the nervous system continues to maintain these physical reactions, which can eventually lead to inflammation and cell damage.
With acute stress, events are short, and hormone levels gradually return to normal, so it doesn’t have a significant negative impact. In fact, it’s harmless.
However, with chronic stress, heightened readiness reactions are triggered repeatedly, maintaining a high hormone level over a longer period of time. This causes anxiety or depression and affects sleep quality and eating habits. All these together increase the risk of developing or exacerbating health issues.
The particular danger lies in chronic stress affecting sleep quality, as poor sleep or its lack can itself induce stress.
Interestingly, our body reacts through the same mechanism regardless of whether real or imagined events trigger stress.
Regular physical exercise helps reduce both types of stress or even avoid it altogether. My recommendation to you is to stay physically active and maintain a routine for sleep, work and rest. This way you will experience significant improvements in your life!