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How Stress Affects The Brain And Body

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Stress affects both the brain and body, causing a series of reactions. In the brain, it releases hormones like cortisol, which interferes with thinking and emotions. A person under stress also experiences a faster heart rate, muscle tension, and negative health effects like high blood pressure.

How Stress Affects the Brain and Body is an educational resource that helps clients become aware of how stress can impact them mentally and physically, and how they can reduce it. The handout is divided into three sections: The first part explains three steps showing how stress hormones are released in the brain. In the middle section, it explains how stress affects the brain and offers tips to reduce it. Lastly, the bottom section lists the potential effects of stress on the body.

Using this handout can help young people recognize the initial signs of stress and prevent it from becoming a long-term issue. If they explore stress relief techniques through a similar resource, Stress Relief Activities for Kids and Teens, they can discover more strategies.

Caring adults, such as parents, teachers, and mental health professionals can share this resource during counseling sessions and discussions to increase understanding about stress management. After reviewing it, they can practice one stress relief technique together, such as meditation.

*This item is an instant digital download. A link to download your files will be emailed to you once payment is confirmed.

Want more resources like this? Check out our full catalog of stress management worksheets and handouts.


  1. Eiland, L., & Romeo, R. (2013). Stress and the developing adolescent brain. Neuroscience, 249, 162-171. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.10.048
  2. Gianaros, P. J., & Wager, T. D. (2015). Brain-body pathways linking psychological stress and physical health. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24(4), 313-321. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721415581476
  3. Rabin, B. S. (2002). Understanding how stress affects the physical body. The Link Between Religion and Health, 43-68. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195143607.003.0004
  4. Romeo, R. D. (2017). The impact of stress on the structure of the adolescent brain: Implications for adolescent mental health. Brain Research, 1654, 185-191. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2016.03.021
  5. Yaribeygi, H., Panahi, Y., Sahraei, H., Johnston, T. P., & Sahebkar, A. (2017). The impact of stress on body function: A review. EXCLI Journal, 16, 1057–1072. https://doi.org/10.17179/excli2017-480
  • Instant digital download
  • File: PDF
  • Size: 8.5" x 11"

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