Imagine you are walking through the woods. It’s a beautiful sunny day, you haven’t got care in the world, the birds are singing. Then RAAAH! – a big, hairy bear jumps out at you. Maybe some of you had a bit of a jolt, felt your heart rate increase, you got a bit sweaty, maybe you feel your breathing increase. This is exactly how stress gets inside the body. We perceive stress in the brain, and it sets in motion a number of pathways – the nervous system, and the endocrine or hormone system. Stimulating these systems has bi-directional effects on every other system in your body. In the short term, that’s the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response. We’re going to see how that happens, and also consider the longer-term consequences of stress – on physical and mental health, and everyday functioning.