This is part of an article in 5 parts, taking you through the physics of stress, and how to prevent it. Start reading here – or go to one of the below sections to dig deeper into each element.
Seen from a physical point, stress is the sum of the effects of a prolonged exposure to cortisol. No more, no less.
It can damage your brain, your body and in worst case it is deadly. Yes it is. And not only in Japan.
Cortisol is as such a natural and necessary element of our metabolism, but its just not meant to be in our blood all the time. It is released into the blood when we face something that we perceive as danger. It makes you an instant superhero ready for either fight or flight, even if the danger is ‘only’ a deadline or a pile of tasks with no time or capacity to do them. When we discuss stress, the perceived danger is the stressor – what makes us stressed.
While adrenaline, the other powerful stress hormone, gets in and out quite fast, cortisol is released slower, and gets out of the system quite slowly:
The scale on the figure is days. Perhaps even weeks. (mere…)