What Is Stress?

When we sense danger, our nervous systems switch into “fight or flight” mode

When we sense danger, our nervous systems switch into “fight or flight” mode: our heart rates increase, we become more alert, blood is diverted to our muscles, preparing them for action and our body releases a mix of hormones to help deal with the situation and provide a rush of energy. Stress is a natural and crucial reaction by our bodies that our ancestors relied on when dealing with threats.

In our modern world, we rarely face stress-inducing danger or threats, but our bodies continue to react to the daily pressures of work, hectic lifestyles and that back-of-mind feeling we have too much to do. Whether at home, work or with friends & family, sometimes it feels like we are in a constant state of “fight or flight.”

Stress doesn't make us weak, it is a useful response to our external environment. However, if we stay stressed for long periods, this can lead to chronic stress, anxiety and other symptoms.

The symptoms of stress can be physical, mental or emotional. It can sometimes be hard to diagnose stress as the main cause of these symptoms, do the below seem familiar?

  • Often feeling a sense of worry or unease
  • Being easy to irritate
  • Being unable to relax, switch off and unwind
  • Lack of energy
  • Sleep problems (including difficulty falling asleep, waking up during the night, feeling unrefreshed in morning)
  • Difficulty concentrating, mental fatigue

Sounds familiar? If you are suffering from stress or anxiety, what can you do?

Stress Management

The simplest approach is to try to prevent becoming stressed in the first place. Change your lifestyle if you are prone to stress, ensure you give yourself enough time in the day, and some time for yourself at the end of a busy day.

However, sometimes avoiding life’s pressures just isn’t possible. If you are feeling stressed, try to identify the reason why — perhaps you are under pressure at work or home, do you have looming deadlines? Maybe it’s planning that big move, adding to the family — maybe it’s the in-laws! Try writing down the reason for your stress or discussing it with someone you trust. Getting it out of your head is often the first step towards feeling better. Many of us are struggling with the hectic pace of modern life, expressing how you feel — however you do it — can help lighten the load.

Once you know the cause of your stress, you can seek ways to reduce its impact on your life. Turn time wasted into productive time, for instance our commuting tips can help you make the most of your morning travel. Simply remembering to breathe deeply at moments of pressure can have a positive impact on how you react and feel.

Sometimes you might not be able to lock down the specific cause of your stress, or see an obvious way to counteract. You can still make changes in your life that can improve the way you’re feeling:

  • Improve your diet – eat more fresh fruit and vegetable, whole grains and protein and reduce processed foods, refined sugars, caffeine and alcohol.
  • Get a good night’s sleep – keep a regular bedtime and do something relaxing before bed.
  • Regular exercise – will keep you fit and healthy as well as reduce stress
  • Experiment with breathing exercises – can help you stay calm throughout the day
  • Give yourself 5 minutes to try relaxation techniques such as meditation, a great way to change your perspective
  • Communicate – talk to friends and family. If you need additional support, speak to your physician or find a counselor you can talk to about your problems and work towards finding a solution.
We use cookies to give you the best user experience on our website. Please let us know if you accept our use of cookies.
Learn more

Your Privacy

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. We mainly use this information to ensure the site works as you expect it to, and to learn how we can improve the experience in the future. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience.

Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change permissions. However, blocking some types of cookies may prevent certain site functionality from working as expected.

Functional cookies


These cookies let you use the website and are required for the website to function as expected.

These cookies are required

Tracking Cookies

Anonymous cookies that help us understand the performance of our website and how we can improve the website experience for our users. Some of these may be set by third parties we trust, such as Google Analytics.

They may also be used to personalise your experience on our website by remembering your preferences and settings.


These cookies are used to improve and personalize your experience with our brands. We may use these cookies to show adverts for our products, or measure the performance of our adverts.