When we feel threatened, our bodies release stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which flood the body in order to get the heart going and boost energy levels. Once the crisis has passed, we start to recover. The problem we have today is the fact that this mechanism is no match for the long-term stresses we endure. Cortisol has the effect of closing down the body's natural repair systems in order to deal with the immediate problem. When released, it suppresses our ability to rest and dampens the immune system. These are the long-term effects stress can have on the body.