You’ve likely experienced the effects of stress—sweaty palms, racing heart, shallow breathing—and are familiar with the sense of overwhelm it can bring. The stress response is part of the “fight or flight” mechanism that has helped our species thrive. However, the demands of modern life make this adaptive response problematic for our long-term well-being.

This article explores the physiological underpinnings of stress, its impact on various bodily systems and useful strategies for navigating it.