Tension, in everyday parlance, refers to physical and nervous stress that accompanies life events. This stress can be physical, mental, or emotional and can be the result of either positive or negative events. When an individual is exposed to stressful events this can result in muscular tension; a tightening of the muscles. In the short range, tension is a major cause of headaches and body aches. High stress levels for prolonged periods of time can contribute to ulcers and heart disease.