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When we feel this way, a number of physiological events are triggered. These are the very same physiological events that our bodies are hard-wired to experience when responding to danger, in order to enhance the probability of our survival. In the "fight-or-flight" response that is triggered by danger, the body mobilizes the physical resources needed to either physically fight or flee a perceived threat. When this occurs, body functioning is temporarily altered, to ensure the greatest chance of survival.
Audrey Berger, PhD - Life Coach
Read about: The Impact of Ongoing Stress
Most people know what it feels like when adrenaline is released. Adrenaline and cortisol are hormones that are released when someone senses serious danger. Adrenaline provides a big boost of energy, increases heart rate and breathing rate (in order to think and move faster), helps blood to clot faster (to help reduce the amount of any bleeding that may occur in a dangerous situation), and draws blood
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away from the digestive tract (in order to send more blood to places where it will be most useful, like the brain and muscles). These are the changes that cause people to experience heart palpitations, sweaty palms and soles, and stomach 'butterflies' or 'knots', among other things. This physiological response to danger is necessary and extremely useful when there is true danger.
There are many definitions of stress, and there's some disagreement about which one is best. It is helpful to conceptualize stress in the following way: when we believe, correctly or incorrectly, that we don't have the personal or social resources to cope with whatever is occurring (or whatever we think will occur in the future), we feel stress.