Stress is actually not all bad. Stress is a normal human reaction. In fact, the human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. When you experience changes or challenges (stressors), your body produces physical and mental responses.

What is stress?

At its core, stress is essential to our survival. When we face danger, whether real or perceived, we experience a built-in fight or flight response. Different structures of the central nervous system and peripheral tissues such as the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands, help mediate the stress response. These structures comprise what’s referred to as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. 


Once activated, the HPA axis instantly puts us on alert and primes the body to either flee the situation or defend against it. The HPA axis is essentially responsible for your fight or flight response to stress.


Once an acute threat has passed, the body returns to normal. However, when the body is exposed to long-term, chronic stress, negative health effects can occur as a result. When the stress response becomes constant, the HPA axis remains active. Think of it as a stuck gas pedal that constantly revs the engine in your car, flooding it with a steady stream of gas; in our bodies, that would mean an elevated level of cortisol. Over time, this can lead to a dysfunctional HPA axis—and that can result in severe adrenal exhaustion. Conditions related to HPA axis dysfunction include cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, obesity, skin rashes, asthma, arthritis, and depression.


Ways to manage Stress:


  1. Identify what’s causing your stress.
  2. Find ways to eliminate some of the stressors in your life (e.g., working fewer hours)
  3. As you wake up each morning, reflect on 3 things that you are grateful for. 
  4. Incorporate daily movement into your routine (walking, running, swimming, dancing, aerobics, yoga, stretching)
  5. Talk to others about how you’re feeling (e.g., friends, family, coworkers, a therapist).
  6. Work on improving your nutrition with the assistance of a qualified healthcare practitioner. 
  7. Participate in a hobby that you enjoy.
  8. Don’t be too hard on yourself; everyone deals with stress.
  9. Take things one day at a time.

For more information, please check out this downloadable brochure belowWays to Manage Stress - Dr Jessica Samaraoo:

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