The effects of stress on the body—including stress directly caused by racism—can be measured by physical indicators. That tension isn't just in your head: getting pulled over by a cop, experiencing extra security at the airport, and even school- and workplace microaggressions can be felt in your heartbeat, blood pressure, and sweat glands. For example, your body naturally releases cortisol and other hormones to jumpstart a flight-or-fight response in potentially harmful situations. When you're out of harm's way, your body is supposed to naturally adjust, and your hormones should return to normal levels. But if you experience chronic stress, or a feeling of fear that never seems to go away, that natural regulatory system gets worn down.