The types of damage caused by stress can be divided into three categories: temporary damage, deep damage and permanent damage.
Temporary damage is the most common side-effect of stress. After a long, stressing day at work our bodies, hearts and minds are exhausted. After taking a good night's rest, some of the problems we couldn't solve and some of the tensions we experienced still remain, but if we take a long vacation with relaxing massages, healthy exercise and meditative walks in nature most of the temporary stress damage is healed naturally.
If we are completely overwhelmed by stress and experience a breakdown, we suffer deep damage. (Deep damage is usually of emotional nature.) This experience forces us to 'take out the garbage' so to speak and take a good look at ourselves and our problems. For better or worse, we are forced to change because of the deep damage of stress.
Permanent damage is the most sneaky. When we have been under stress for so long that we cannot even imagine a life without it, we have suffered permanent damage. Permanent damage can be physical, mental and emotional (usually all three). Our thinking processes, emotional openness and physical form all become contorted into a relatively permanent shape caused by tension - we made our very being into a prison.
Healing temporary damage requires rest, healing deep damage requires clarity, and healing permanent damage requires fearlessness to take on the deep damage.