Stress is a word that we use all the time and it means different things to different people.

Stress actually means the way that our bodies respond to stressful events, by an activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which results in a fight-or-flight response. Adrenal fatigue and Hypo-adrenia are labels that we use to describe the physical effects of long term or high stress.

Did you know?

  • Our mental state affects our susceptibility to illness and ability to heal…
  • Students under exam stress are more likely to become ill when exposed to a virus
  • More people have heart attacks at 9am on Monday mornings than at any other time!
  • Stress is linked to every major disease…
  • The body cannot heal itself during a stress response
  • The fight flight response affects many systems including immunity, hormone balance, digestion and blood pressure

Current lifestyles mean we are in a stress response more and more frequently; it has become part of the modern lifestyle.

Our bodies are well evolved to cope with stress occasionally, but many people experience stressful events too frequently or over too long a time and it can become unmanageable.

Common symptoms of stress that has become unmanageable are anxiety, depression, feeling helpless, lacking purpose or feeling a failure. Long-term unmanaged stress can cause fatigue, sleep problems, panic attacks, digestive problems and hormone imbalances,

We are more vulnerable to stress if we suffer from a lack of closeness to parents and family. We are also more susceptible if we are perfectionistic, or try to achieve too much in too little time.

At what point your stress response gets triggered depends on your emotional background, your history of stressful situations and your learned behaviours.

Self-reflection and techniques like meditation reduce the impact of triggers from the limbic brain, so reduce feelings of stress.

How to measure stress questionnaire:

Score 1 always – 2 usually – 3 it depends – 4 rarely – 5 no / never

Do you?

Eat at least one hot balanced meal a day
Have 7 hours sleep at least 4 nights a week
Give and receive affection regularly
Have a relative within 50 miles on who you can rely
Exercise at least 2 x a week
Smoke less than 10 cigarettes a day
Drink alcohol less than 5 times a week
Keep at a healthy weight for your height
Have adequate income for your needs
Get strength from spiritual, philosophical or other deeply-held belief
Regularly socialise
Have a network of friends
Have a close friend to confide in
Have good health
Express your feelings of anger and worry
Have regular domestic discussions with those you live with
Do something for fun at least once a week
Organise your time effectively
Drink less than 3 caffeinated drinks a day
Have some quiet time to yourself every day.

If your score is less than 50 you probably cope well with stress.

How to cope with stress

1. Deal only with things you can do something about
2. Take one problem at a time
3. Talk problems over with others and listen to their advice
4. Act positively, even if you make the wrong decision
5. Don’t harbour grudges
6. Relax daily
7. Occupy yourself
8. Have routines for mealtimes, sleep, exercise and relaxation

9. Don’t dwell on problems after 8pm

10.Admit to yourself if you are overwhelmed and seek help

Anything that gives satisfaction helps to relieve stress:

Massage, exercise, hot baths, holidays, music, crafts, films and sex can all relieve stress

Techniques like meditation, yoga, t’ai chi, hypnosis and deep breathing can all help too.

Good nutrition also helps:

A diet that is low on sugars and carbohydrates with plenty of fresh vegetables, healthy fats and proteins is best.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol

Other supports:

Bach flower essences including Rescue Remedy.


Chamomile is a relaxant, a nerve tonic and sooths the digestion / aids sleep

St Johns Wort is good for depression and nerve pain

Valerian calms the nervous system, aids sleep and eases stress headaches


For more advice, module one of the recovery plan about hormones, includes lots of practical suggestions and recommendations to help manage your stress levels and support your adrenal gland function.

Copyright NTA 2018