“I’m stressed.”

It’s something we hear all the time.

But other than how we feel what does it do to our bodies and how can we help ourselves cope with it?

In this blog we will explore the forms of stress people feel, how it affects our body and some top tips from the therapists at Total Health West Berkshire on how to cope with stress.

As reflexologist Leonie from LKR therapies says ‘everyone suffers from some degree of stress at various times in their life.’

Everyone deals with differing amounts of stress in different ways. Some may find hosting a dinner party to be the most stressful thing in the world whereas another person may think nothing of it whilst multi tasking with many other things at the same time.

But what exactly is stress?

Stress is a response to a situation by the sympathetic nervous system. It fires up the body’s fight or flight response. This is useful if we need it in the short term, for instance if we are being chased by a lion.

But not so handy if we feel it every day!

The flight or fight response increases our  heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension and can make us feel more anxious. As we have said, useful if you want to run away from that lion but if we have this affect everyday then it can lead to more long term health problems, such as insomnia, anxiety and panic attacks, depression, IBS, stomach ulcers, and heart conditions.

SO, what can you do?

The important thing to do with stress is to manage it.

Sometimes rethinking how you feel can help. Esther Limberg – Birks is a Fusion Life coach and suggests in her blog to think of yourself as stretched rather than stressed.

Stretched vs Stressed is the aim. Stretched is where you feel challenged, you grow, you learn and you feel accomplished. Stressed is an overthinking mind, leaving you exhausted with an overwhelming feeling of not  being able to cope.

Click here to read Esther’s blog:  Anxiety is not the enemy learn to work with it not against it 

Another thing that can be important is present mind thinking as suggested by acupuncturist Carolyn Sykes:

Live in the present moment as much as possible, a quick way to check in moment to moment or whenever you remember is through your breath. Take 20 long deep breaths in, whenever you remember, making the out breath longer than the in breath.


Leonie from LKR therapies also advocates meditation, mindfulness and self-hypnosis as a way to give you some mental head space, clear your thoughts and relax.

Worry time is another suggestion where rather than worrying all day you schedule yourself 20 minutes of time to worry. If you find your self worrying at any other time in the day then mentally push that thought away to deal with in the allocated ‘worry time’. Many people find that 5 minutes into their scheduled worry time they decide they are bored of it and choose to go and do something else instead.

Both Leonie and Laura Fishlock Osteopath suggest exercise or simply keeping active as a way of decreasing your stress levels. Exercise can;

  • improve your mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety
  • help to support fast metabolism
  • increase energy levels
  • help with brain health and memory
  • help with sleep and relaxation

The top three tips from Ben Fedrick Injury Therapist are

  1. Cold showers – horrible yes, but because extreme cold is dangerous the body up regulates a ton of processes to help protect itself.
  2. Eating bitter foods stimulate the vagal response, forcing the liver to release bile and improve digestion.
  3. Take a probiotic – studies have shown this reduces stress hormones and increases vagal tone.

You can read more of his advice on his Ben Fedrick Injury Therapy Facebook page.


If you are suffering from stress then do try the tips in this blog to see if they can help you manage it. If you need further advice then here are the treatments we recommend to help with your stress.

  1. Counselling – can help you deal with any underlying issues you may need help with.
  2. Hypnotherapy – can help you relax and also deal with issues you may be facing
  3. Life coaching – If you feel you may need to make a big change coaching can help you work out what you need to change.
  4. Massage, Osteopathy, Chiropractic, Injury therapy – if you are carrying stress in your jaw, neck or shoulder these treatments can help reduce muscle tension and improve joint motion.
  5.  Acupuncture – Can help with many of the symptoms of stress.

I hope you have found this blog interesting and useful. If you need any advice then you can email us on hello@totalhealthwestberks.co.uk or call us on (01635) 791301

Warm wishes,

Rosie Piercy

Clinic Director




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