Understanding Stress


Now, here’s the thing that I drill into most of my clients.. busy women with kids, jobs and LIVES.


It’s not stress that’s the issue. It’s the fact that you don’t manage your stress effectively, yet.

If you’re stressed daily, you need to de-stress daily.


^^^Read that again.

Here’s the thing, as human beings we’re gifted with automatic physical responses designed to keep us safe, heathly and well.


One of these is an evolutionary response to threat. Think along the lines of cave girl running away from a wild animal.. cause ya know, the evolution of the human race depends on staying alive, ya know?

This can be Actual threat, perceived or even anticipated threat.


Now, when we perceive something as threatening, the primitive part of our brain releases the chemicals adrenaline and cortisol, which prepare the body and mind for action so we can either fight or RUN away (AKA fight or flight).


While this was great for our primitive ancestors when faced with life or death threats – in our modern day lives, this response isn’t always helpful in the same way.

Once a threat/ challenge is perceived, our bodies become mobilised and ready for action.

Typically heart rate and blood pressure increase, breathing becomes shallow, muscles tense and non essential systems like digestion and the immune system shut down.

Mentally, we can have trouble focussing on detail.

If the challenge is linked to a particular situation or goal, for example, delivering a presentation or attending an interview, this chemical response creates a heightened state of physical and mental arousal, designed to help us perform at our best.


Once the task has been completed and the challenge is met, adrenaline and cortisol levels can return to normal.


However, when the fight/flight response is triggered by threats we perceive as being beyond our control or capability to handle or by free floating anxiety as a result of repeated or persistent uncertainty and distress, there’s no outlet for the cortisol and levels can build up to a point where effects memory and learning along with raising blood pressure and cholesterol, decrease resilience whilst increasing feelings of depression and inability to cope.


If we’re already in this high pressure state, internally, it takes very little in the outside world to take us over the edge.

we can think of internal stress levels as an internal temperature, each stressor that we experience can raise our temperature by several degrees.

If we experience and create multiple stressors, our internal temperature will go up and up.


If we’re already at 90 degrees – it doesn’t take much to take us to boiling point.

However, if our temperature is at only 40 degrees, we can tolerate A LOT more.


So, the trick to managing our stress responses is 2 fold.


  1. REPEATEDLY practise techniques and strategies to keep down our internal temperature and to engage our natural recovery systems.
  2. To build up our resistance to COPE and THRIVE (my fave word)


Now, here’s the biggie..

Most women I speak to have the perception of de-stressing as a spa day, 3 hours of meditation or an all inclusive week long holiday.


When the actual fact is, it is SO much simpler than that and it can be done to take some time out each day to collect yourself and build your resilience to cope and thrive in your own way.

Things that can be as simple as:


  • Taking 10 minutes of quiet time with a brew in a morning (before your kids get up and you’re running round like a bat shit crazy person)taking some time that’s just for yourself to set up your day.
  • Setting a bed time routine or a morning routine to start and end your day on a good note.
  • Journaling using a 5 minute journal to shine your torch beam away from the perceived stress (My fave is 5 min journal- can buy on Amazon)
  • Finding three positive things that have happened in your day and writing them down.


Here are my final thoughts on this that I wanted to share with ya…

In the world we live in ‘being busy’ is often used as some kind of weird status symbol.

Ya know, the GO HARD or GO HOME mentality.


As human beings we aren’t designed to thrive in that stress ridden environment.
We’re actually designed to spend most of our time in the ‘rest and digest’ state, believe it or not.

So, if you’re finding yourself constantly running at 90 degrees , constantly on the edge of burn out. It might just be time to take a step back and get some tools in ya box which help you to be the best version of yourself. To cope and thrive.

Love Char xxx

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