Current International COVID-19 Travel Requirements Here
Andrea Drever
By Andrea Drever

Content and Editorial Director

I was walking down the sidewalk, and got a text that was so distressing, I felt like I’d been physically kicked in the back. I actually lost the ability to walk for several minutes. This had happened a few times before, when I was driving and someone pulled a particularly egregious move. Bam, a punch in the back. I now suspect what I was experiencing was a burst of hormones from my adrenals. 

Adrenals, it turns out, are two triangular-shaped glands that sit on top of your kidneys, which are located in your lower back. And though they’re small, they have some very big jobs to do. They produce hormones that help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to stress and other essential functions. Two of the hormones these glands produce are adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline, commonly known as the “fight or flight” hormone, is produced after receiving a message from the brain that a stressful situation has presented itself. Along with an increase in heart rate, it gives you a surge of energy, which you might need to run away from a dangerous situation. Cortisol, often referred to as the “stress” hormone, takes a little more time for you to feel its effects. In survival mode, cortisol can be lifesaving, helping to maintain fluid balance and blood pressure, while regulating some body functions that aren't crucial in the moment, like reproductive drive, immunity, digestion and growth.

And though both these hormones are essential, having too much of either coursing through your system can wreak havoc on your body. The body's stress-response system is usually self-limiting. Once a perceived threat has passed, hormone levels return to normal. As adrenaline and cortisol levels drop, your heart rate and blood pressure return to baseline levels, and other systems resume their regular activities. But when stressors are always present and you constantly feel under attack, whether you actually are or not, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on.

The long-term activation of the stress-response system and the overexposure to stress hormones that follows can disrupt almost all your body's processes. This puts you at increased risk of many health problems, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Memory and concentration impairment
Woman looking at sunset

Learning to React to Stress in a Healthy Way

Stressful events are obviously facts of life. But fortunately, you can take steps to manage the impact these events have on you. You can learn to identify what stresses you and how to take care of yourself physically and emotionally in the face of stressful situations.

Stress management strategies include:

  • Getting regular exercise
  • Eating a healthful diet
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, and meditation
  • Reducing triggers of stress, such as over commitment
  • Fostering healthy friendships
  • Having a sense of humor
  • Seeking professional counseling when needed

You won’t be able to prevent someone from cutting you off on the freeway. But, with the right preparation and mindset, you can learn effective and healthy ways to cope with these kinds of life stressors.

Eyeglasses sitting on an open book on an unmade bed.

Can Blue Light Blockers Improve Your Sleep?

Sure, they can protect your eyes. But can blue light-blocking glasses help you sleep more soundly? Here’s what science has to say.

Read More
Honeycomb on a plate, and a bowl filled with an oatmeal mix.

Healthful Honey Oat Treats

Easy, delicious and packed with good ingredients, these no-bake, nearly raw snack balls are a treat.

Read More
Two women sitting across from each other at a table clasping hands in a supportive way.

DUTCH Testing for Hormone Health

A simple, easy-to-complete test that gives unparalleled insight into hormone health seems like a dream; but with the DUTCH test, it’s very much a reality.

Read More
Black electric toothbrush and tube of toothpaste on a counter, and two women holding toothbrushes.

Oral Healthcare Advice From NYC's Top Dentist

Maintain that just-been-to-the-dentist pearly white smile with these pro tips and tricks.

Read More
Barren white cliffs and deep blue water.

The Soothing Ritual of Thalassotherapy

Relaxing, ocean-based therapy that will leave you feeling blissfully grounded.

Read More
and holding a small cocktail with sugar around the rim of the glass.

Cutting Back on Cocktails A Beginner’s Guide

Concerned you might be drinking too much? Even if you don’t plan on becoming a total teetotaler, here are some tips on cutting back.

Read More
Woman looking relaxed and contemplative.

Big Benefits of IV Drip Therapy

Touted as a cure-all for whatever ails you, this simple procedure delivers a dose of fast-acting nutrients and deep hydration. Treatments are safe, effective and popping up in the most unexpected places.

Read More
Photos of a woman wearing jeans, a woman holding a bowl, and a bowl of raspberries with cream and granola.

Superfoods To Eat Every Day

Ramp up energy and vitality by adding these highly nutritious — and delicious — foods to your diet as often as possible.

Read More
Woman in beige outfit sitting on beige bed, seemingly lost in thought.

The Physical Effects of a Broken Heart

We know we feel awful when a relationship ends. But science shows that heartbreak can also have negative — but reversible — physical effects.

Read More

My Bag

Product thumbnail
Product title

Variant title


$ 0.00

Your cart is empty


Taxes and shipping calculated at checkout