Stress: How It Works And How To Beat It

It doesn't have to be this way

Stressed out. Under pressure. Run down. We tend to think of stress as a bad thing—and it can be. Traumatic experiences in early childhood can destroy mental health later in life, and chronic stress has been linked to illnesses such as cancer and diabetes. But stress can be good too. It helps us navigate an unpredictable world and determine which new experiences are good, bad, or dangerous. It also primes us to respond to similar situations in the future. The key with stress is to strike a healthy balance—getting enough at the right moments, but not too much overall. If the prospect of following that advice makes you tense up, take a deep breath: Science can help.

How It Works

How To Cope

Feeling Tense? Learn From These High-Stress Professionals

This article was originally published in the March 2015 issue of Popular Science, under the title “The Science Of Stress.”