We all get stressed whether it be from work, school, or relationships. But with 80% of adults in the U.S. reporting daily stress, what’s this chronic stress doing to all of us? What happens when you’re stressed every day? Within seconds of any stressor, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. First your eyes and ears send information to your amygdala, the emotional processing center of the brain. Then from your amygdala the information moves to your hypothalamus which communicates with your autonomic nervous system and adrenal glands. These glands then release a burst of the neurotransmitter adrenaline. This causes the classic feeling of stress: increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and faster breathing. The adrenaline also triggers the release of the stress hormone cortisol. We always hear about the danger of cortisol, but it’s actually released to protect your brain from the nerve damage associated with trauma. Within 10 minutes of being stressed, behavioral changes likely take place including increased aggressive behavior. Around 30 minutes, you may become forgetful, as stress can decrease long-term memory and impair concentration. And after days of consistent stress, your sex drive will likely decrease. Why? From an evolutionary perspective getting out there and mating would increase the odds of predation. So, one theory is, we may have evolved to decrease our sex drive when stressed to avoid potential threats. But after months of being stressed your cognitive function will really start to decline. Longitudinal studies of employees in stressful work environments show increased incidences of depression and poor circulatory health. A study on rats showed that six months after being chronically stressed, the rats had increased levels of anxiety and decreased abilities to navigate a maze. This was due to changes in their hippocampus all linked to increased levels of cortisol. This highlights that, although we know cortisol is meant to protect your brain from trauma, long-term exposure to it can be detrimental. With all this in mind. It’s no surprise that chronic stress has been linked to many diseases such as obesity, depression, and heart disease. And, suppression of the immune system with increased susceptibility to colds, sleep issues, GI issues, fertility issues, memory problems, and even cancer. So trying to minimize your stress might be a good idea. But what can you even do to lower your stress levels? Our latest podcast goes into some tactics that you can do to reduce your stress right now based on studies and some of our own personal experiences. You can click on the screen or use the link in the description to check that out. And subscribe for more weekly science videos every Thursday.