Stress is a psychophysiological response to a real or perceived danger. Stress involves a complex interplay of nervous and hormonal reactions to internal and external stimuli. All living organisms respond to stimuli, usually by means of gene-regulating chemical messengers called hormones.
The fight-or-flight stress response and other evolutionary stress adaptations are excellent for moments of acute stress that endure within the individual for only a few seconds or minutes. The stresses that humans face are based on these behavioral adaptations. Much of the stress faced by modern-day humans is chronic, however, and lasts not for minutes but for hours, days, weeks, months, and years. Such stresses involve the same nervous and endocrine system responses, but they are usually brought about by perceived danger, not true danger. Further, because the stress is not resolved within the immediate outcome of a situation and is felt chronically, humans often suffer a prolonged stress response that may interfere with modern daily life.