From our friends at Mind the Science Gap:
Like any system, it’s important to first understand how it was meant to function before really appreciating how it breaks down. The stress-response is a perfect example of a system that was originally intended for short-term emergencies, but has now morphed into a system that constantly bears the burdens of our daily hassles.
Let’s run through a scenario, similar to last week when you were going out for a morning run. I use exercise examples to illustrate the response to a physical stress—which as you’ll see later on, looks very similar to a psychological stress (like working on a deadline, or giving a presentation to a room full of people).
Your body cares about one thing on your morning run: to provide you with sufficient fuel for the event. Your leg muscles are especially in demand for oxygenated blood, so your heart needs to pump faster and harder to accommodate. Thanks to a certain branch of the nervous system (known as the autonomic branch), your body can respond within a matter of seconds. Like its name describes, this response happens automatically.
Read the complete post here.