When the Mental is Physical

By Jenny Morgan

[Research] Stress is everywhere.

And while it doesn’t take a scientist to notice it, scientists across disciplines are asking questions about what all this stress might mean for our health. At Amherst, students in the course “Biochemical Principles of Life at the Molecular Level” have brought their own questions to bear on the relationship between human health and stress.

Stress & Anxiety

Anxiety is part of the body's hard-wired fight-or-flight response, which prepares us to act quickly in the face of danger.  It is a normal reaction to unfamiliar or challenging circumstances.

De-stress

The experience of stress is universal - it is part of being alive.  Therefore, developing a healthy response to stress is a skill that will serve you well throughout your life.  Some stressors are within your realm of control and can be prevented.  For example, you can choose whether you want the additional stress of a fifth class, on top of your job, sports team, long-distance relationship, and so on.  Other stressors are unavoidable, but you can alleviate the impact by practicing some of the wellness strategies outlined in these pages.

Anxiety

Anxiety is part of the body's hard-wired fight-or-flight response, which prepares us to act quickly in the face of danger.  It is a normal reaction to unfamiliar or challenging circumstances. However, when anxiety is persistent or out of proportion with life events, it can impede everyday activities and undermine wellbeing.