Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life. A small amount of stress can be good, motivating you to perform well. But multiple challenges daily, such as sitting in traffic, meeting deadlines and paying bills, can push you beyond your ability to cope.

Your brain comes hard-wired with an alarm system for your protection. When your brain perceives a threat, it signals your body to release a burst of hormones that increase your heart rate and raise your blood pressure. This "fight-or-flight" response fuels you to deal with the threat.

Once the threat is gone, your body is meant to return to a normal, relaxed state. Unfortunately, the nonstop complications of modern life mean that some people's alarm systems rarely shut off.

Stress management gives you a range of tools to reset your alarm system. It can help your mind and body adapt (resilience). Without it, your body might always be on high alert. Over time, chronic stress can lead to serious health problems.

Don't wait until stress damages your health, relationships or quality of life. Start practicing stress management techniques today.

Get the latest health information from Mayo Clinic’s experts.

Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Feb. 26, 2021

See also

  1. 5 ways to bring play back into your life
  2. A Very Happy Brain
  3. Anger management: Your questions answered
  4. Balancing work and life responsibilities
  5. Being assertive
  6. Bridge pose
  7. Can yoga help me keep caregiver stress in check?
  8. Caregiver stress
  9. Cat/cow pose
  10. Child's pose
  11. Chronic stress
  12. Stress and your health
  13. Cobra
  14. Control email to regain control of your life
  15. Coping with excess information
  16. Coping with job stress
  17. COVID-19 and your mental health
  18. Denial
  19. Does stress make rheumatoid arthritis worse?
  20. Downward-facing dog
  21. Ease stress to reduce eczema symptoms
  22. Ease stress to reduce your psoriasis flares
  23. Empty nest syndrome
  24. Stress relief
  25. Forgiveness
  26. Great expectations: How to keep them from creating unhappiness
  27. Headaches and stress
  28. How decluttering your space could make you healthier and happier
  29. How to be happy
  30. How to focus on the present for long-term progress
  31. Job burnout
  32. Job satisfaction
  33. Learn to reduce stress through mindful living
  34. Manage stress to improve psoriatic arthritis symptoms
  35. Massage
  36. Meditation
  37. Mindfulness exercises
  38. Mountain pose
  39. New School Anxiety
  40. Adjustment disorder
  41. Pet therapy
  42. Positive thinking
  43. Prenatal yoga
  44. Relaxation techniques
  45. Resilience
  46. Seated spinal twist
  47. Setbacks and criticism — Don't let them derail you
  48. Slide show: Yoga poses
  49. Social support: Tap this tool to beat stress
  50. Standing forward bend
  51. Stop multitasking and focus
  52. Stress hair loss
  53. Stress and high blood pressure
  54. Stress and technology
  55. Stress and weight gain
  56. Holiday stress
  57. Prevent stress setbacks
  58. Stress relief from laughter
  59. Stress relievers
  60. Stress symptoms
  61. Support groups
  62. Tai chi
  63. Tired of feeling hassled? Try these tips
  64. Use the 80/20 rule to manage time and reduce stress
  65. Guided meditation video
  66. Tai chi
  67. Warrior 1
  68. What is hot yoga?
  69. What is reflexology?
  70. Work-life balance
  71. Yoga