Stress Effects on the Body

We all know how our minds are affected by stress, but what effect does stress have on our body—those physical things we sometimes don’t feel until years later.

Or how about when you are feeling stressed and you soon thereafter end up literally sick, with a cold or virus?  Are these related?

Scientists differentiate between two types of stress: short term, or acute stress vs. long-term, or chronic stress.


  • Being frightened by something or someone
  • Turning the steering wheel to avoid a car accident
  • Seeing a plate fall off the counter out of the corner of your eye

These situations produce an immediate and powerful stress, in a surprising or shocking manner.  This is where the so-called “Flight-or-Fight” response comes in.

Here are some common effects of Acute stress on your body:

  • Excessive sweating/clammy palms
  • Heavy breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Cold hands due to decreased blood flow
  • Loss of color in the face


Stress causes feelings of fear, anxiety and depression.


Stress makes you feel uncomfortable and provokes you to become aggressive.


Stress makes you feel hopeless.  You tend to run away from or ignore stressful situations.



  • Constantly feeling nervous about driving because of a previous accident
  • Worrying every time you teenager goes out because they came home drunk one night
  • Thinking about work all the time, even on the weekends

Chronic stress is the type of stress that can have a more serious physical effect for you.  Here are some common effects of chronic stress on the body:

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Compromised immune system/greater likelihood of catching common viruses
  • Chronic fatigue/excessive tiredness


Regardless of what type, there are many ways to deal with stress in your life, and that is what this program is all about.