The East Coast experienced a 5.8-magnitude earthquake centered near Richmond, Va., at 1:51 p.m. EST on August 2nd, 2011.
If you were anywhere in the band from Boston to Charlotte, N.C. who felt the earthquake, you’ve experienced stress, whether you realize it or not. “When the rocks beneath our feet become unstable, then, it shakes us both mentally and physically,” says YouBeauty psychology expert Art Markman, Ph.D.
Many coped with their stress publicly. “The large number of jokes flying around Facebook and Twitter were signs of people's stress. It is good to laugh at times like this,” says Markman. “After experiencing an earthquake, you might feel some stress for a few days.”
It could also turn you on.
“A little safe stress like this can also increase arousal, so don't be surprised if passions ignite in the days after an earthquake,” says Markman.
Here’s what happened in your body: The earthquake triggered your stress response, making your brain and hormones move quickly. First, your hypothalamus, an almond-size control center deep within your brain, sent messages to your adrenal glands. These glands then sent cortisol (the “stress hormone”) and adrenaline, the chemical messenger that causes you to jump when someone surprises you, through your bloodstream. The hormones pull sugar from your liver and fatty acids from your fat cells to push your muscles into action.
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