From life’s daily inconveniences to situations that feel out of control, our stress hormones activate resulting in overwhelming emotions that cause panic, exhaustion, and unhappiness. We also feel the physical manifestation of stress with a quickened pulse, shortness of breath and high blood pressure. More than just an emotional or physical feeling of discomfort, though, stress has larger consequences on your health and overall well-being.

Here’s How It Works

The hormones cortisol and adrenaline are released into your system in “fight or flight” moments of high stress. While these hormones and your stress response are designed to be self-limiting and return to their normal levels once the incident subsides, chronic stress can disrupt your entire body’s processes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Chronic stress puts you at an increased risk of anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain and memory and concentration impairment.

Everyone’s threshold for stress is different and this is attributed to your unique genetic makeup, as well as to your personal life experiences. This is why some people project a calm, cool and collected vibe most of the time while other’s response to stress is hair trigger.

How To Manage Stress

While stress is a fact of life, how you handle it is mutable. It might sound overly simplistic, but eating healthy, working out regularly and getting plenty of sleep is the best way to approach stress from a healthy place. You can also practice relaxation techniques, breathing exercises or meditation. Yoga is a perfect stress-fighting exercise to incorporate into your routine.

It’s also important to maintain perspective, nurture a healthy sense of humor and turn to friends for support. Still, there are times when life’s stressors can feel too much to handle. This is when turning to professional counseling can also prove beneficial. It will be well worth it to nurture your own personal coping techniques when stress starts to get you down.