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  • Writer's pictureGillian Padgett

What is Stress?

Stress occurs when we are under pressure or feel threatened. Our stress response is triggered in the brain, activating physiological, emotional and mental reactions that occur in times of danger – allowing us to fight, flee, freeze or please - to be safe.

We are designed to shake off the stress once the danger has gone and to carry on as normal. The problems arise when this doesn’t happen.

Around seven in 10 adults (72%) have experienced additional health impacts due to stress, including feeling overwhelmed (33%), experiencing changes in sleeping habits (32%), and/or worrying constantly (30%)

Stress Stat for 2022

American Psychological Association

Some examples of stress include:

  • Working on an project with a short timeline;

  • Public speaking;

  • Attending an interview;

  • Competitive sport;

  • Exams;

  • Shift work;

  • Lack of control in work or life in general;

  • Financial problems;

  • Relationship problems.

Reactions to stress may include:

Mood swings, digestive disorders, sleep problems, short or long term memory problems; difficulty focusing; headaches; tension; irritability; tearfulness, feeling overwhelmed.

Who experiences stress?

Almost everyone experiences stress at some time or another. The challenge is whether or not we can move through the stress and come out stronger, wiser and more resilient - or whether we crumble.

Here are some stressful situations where people have needed support:

  • Being in an abusive relationship;

  • Caring for a terminally ill partner, parent or child;

  • Handling the shock of a diagnosis of a serious illness;

  • Working under constant pressure – in the workplace or home;

  • Having additional responsibilities that tips our balance and ability to cope;

  • Generally living an out of balance lifestyle.

And, taking exams, making presentations, caring for terminally ill relations, being in competitive sport.

Ignored or untreated stress can often lead to chronic stress or even exhaustion and burnout.

How do you know if you are unhealthily stressed?

Ask yourself:

  • On a scale of 0-10 (0 = no stress, 10 = explosive stress (or total exhaustion) how do you feel NOW?

  • On the same scale how do you feel MOST OF THE TIME?

For either question:

  • If your self-assessed stress level averages 5 or over, I recommend you look for ways to bring balance in your life and your stress levels down to the 2-4 zone.

  • If your self-assessed stress level is in the 7-10 zone, I recommend you immediately seek help in managing your stress and ability to live within the 2-4 zone.

If stress is a problem for you:

Spend a week to 10 days focusing on these STOP super quick exercises (one or two minutes each).


Once an hour and gently breathe (in-breath through your nose, out-breath through your mouth). Take three, ten or more relaxing, gentle breaths.


At least three times a day, sit or stand, and notice where you are. What you can see, hear, feel, taste and smell.


Notice what you are about to eat. Are you hungry? Is it healthy? Is there a healthier alternative?


Notice what you’re about to drink. Are you thirsty? Is it healthy? Is there a healthier alternative?


Notice what you are thinking? Is it productive, loving, positive or kind? Or is it negative chatter, worry or disasterizing?

If negative, quickly write down a positive (realistic) alternative thought, and repeat it often for the rest of the day.

If you still feel stressed out:

Take advantage of limited spaces available and book a Free Discovery Session with me. There will be no pressure. Let’s see how I can help you to get back on track and be stress free.

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