Not all stress is bad for the brain and body. The stresses that are part of everyday life—taking a test, learning to drive, preparing for a job interview—can strengthen our problem-solving abilities and boost our resilience. But continual or extreme stress, especially in the early years, can damage a child’s ability to think, learn, grow and relate to others. It can have a lifelong effect on both physical and mental health. Research shows that nurturing, supportive relationships with adults can help reduce the damage caused by early toxic stress.