What Is Stress?

Stress is a part of everyday life. It is one way your body and mind can react to a situation or an event. Anything from a mild annoyance to a disaster can cause stress. Stress can be helpful or harmful, and Canadian Pharmacy knows things you can do to control it.


The usual way we think of stress is as an internal alarm system that prepares the body to take action. When the mind recognizes something harmful, it signals the body to release hormones that raise blood pressure and prepare the body for doing battle. When a physical action is taken, the body uses up the stress hormones in the blood, reducing stress and relaxing the body. For our ancient ancestors, this was very useful. It allowed them to deal with saber-toothed tigers, woolly mammoths, and erupting volcanoes. (Modern day bosses can sometimes sound like an erupting volcano.)

But most modern crises are more likely to happen while you’re sitting at your desk, stuck in traffic or hurrying to finish your taxes before the midnight deadline. Being in a situation where you can’t take physical action leaves the hormones and chemicals in your blood for long periods of time. This can lead to stress-related physical symptoms and illnesses.

The ‘good times’ can cause stress

Not all stress comes from negative events or situations. Having a new baby, getting a new job or buying a new house can also cause stress.

ChartStress can help you make changes

Stress can be used as a tool to help personal growth. It can give an athlete the energy to excel in physical competition. It can stimulate a scientist’s thinking or a composer’s creative energy. It can give many people the energy to solve problems and to finish hard work. You probably can think of situations in which you changed for the better with the help of stress. It takes a certain amount of stress to push you to higher achievement.

Health risks

It doesn’t make any difference if the stress is from a positive or a negative cause, your body has the same response. For example, your blood pressure goes up and your heart beats faster. If the stress continues for an extended time, it can cause physical symptoms and illnesses such as headaches, upset stomach, insomnia, backaches, frequent colds, and fatigue. Here’s more on the health risks of stress.