STRESS 101: what is it and how does it impact the body?


The truth is, we all get stressed out from time to time. Stress can be unavoidable, yet it is an inevitable part of life. Any change that creates physical, emotional, or psychological discomfort is referred to as stress. 

Let’s dive deeper into exactly what stress is…

The fight-or-flight response.

The fight or flight response is an automatic physiological response which is triggered by stress. It’s the body’s reaction to a perceived threat or danger. 

Stress hormones.

Adrenaline and cortisol are released during this reaction. This increases heart rate, slows digestion, and alters other bodily systems in order for you to respond to the threat appropriately.

Both short and long-term stress can cause a wide range of symptoms, but chronic stress can have a significant impact on the body over time, even causing long-term health consequences.

Common symptoms of stress include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Digestive problems
  • Feeling anxious
  • Headaches
  • Low energy

Stress can come in many shapes and sizes. In fact, not all forms of stress are bad! The following are just some of the types of stress that you could encounter:

Acute stress.

The most common type of stress we encounter in our daily lives. It lasts a short period of time and can be positive as well as negative.

Chronic stress.

Persistent and unavoidable stress. This type of stress tends to result from traumatic experiences, a toxic work environment, or family-related matters.


A fun and thrilling type of stress. Eustress is positive and can help you stay energized. It’s linked to adrenaline rushes, such when you’re skiing or racing to fulfill a deadline.

Anxiety is also impacted by stress, and can even worsen gut-related conditions such as IBS through initiation of the ‘fight or flight’ response. 

When your central nervous system initiates the fight-or-flight response, your digestive system slows down. But it works both ways!

IBS can also worsen anxiety and stress levels. Unpleasant IBS symptoms can add to emotional distress. This includes:

  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • And stomach discomfort

Worry or concern about IBS symptoms and sudden flare-ups then exacerbates feelings of anxiety and raises stress levels.

Stress will affect us all during some point in our lives, but it’s how you handle the stressor that determines the impact on your overall health.

Reduce stress with these seven daily habits:

①Take slow, deep breaths. 

Whether you realize it or not, we spend a majority of our time in shallow, anxious breathing patterns. Deep breathing is an effective stress-reduction technique that may be used anywhere.

②Spend time in nature.

Spending time in nature has been demonstrated to lower cortisol (and inflammation), dampen depression and anxiety, whilst strengthening the immune system.

③Build strong relationships.

Did you know that loneliness can be more harmful to your health than obesity? Put yourself out there and volunteer, join a local class or organization, or invite friends over.

④Always forgive.

Negative emotions not only harm your mind, but they can also harm you physically. Allow yourself to let go of pain by forgiving others, asking for forgiveness, and forgiving yourself.

⑤Get quality sleep every night.

The body works to restore itself during sleep. More damage will occur if you don’t get enough sleep. Maintain a consistent bedtime, wear a sleep mask, and receive some early morning sun.

⑥Exercise regularly. 

All it takes is 30 minutes of movement per day to start seeing and feeling the benefits, whilst sitting for more than four hours a day can be very harmful to your health. Take part in something you enjoy.

⑦Be mindful.

Negative thoughts tend to repeat themselves in our heads. To cleanse your thoughts and interrupt these loops, try meditating for ten (or even five) minutes each day.

Looking for coaching on how to better manage your stress or apply deep dive testing to see how you are managing stress? Sign up for my free 15 minute 1:1 call to learn more.


leave a comment

Parade magazine - Is Metabolic Confusion An Effective Way To Lose Weight?

The Hippie Mom’s Podcast - How to Eat for Balanced and Sustainable Health

Jumpstart with Faves

Listen now >

The Gaby U Show - Believe in yourself, Don't give up

Listen now >

The Mind Body Biohacker Podcast

In this amazing episode Allie Burch, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Nurse Practitioner, and Mind-Body Healing Expert presents powerful methods to start being healthy now.

Well versed in the science of both conventional medicine and the deeper functional medicine techniques Allie gives simple, actionable tools you can apply today to improve your health mentally and physically. 

Read. Learn. Thrive.

As Seen in