Unlocking the Mysteries of Stress: 3 Things You Didn’t Know

April is Stress Awareness Month and the theme is #LittleByLittle highlights the transformative impact of consistent, small positive actions on overall wellbeing. Small but significant steps and changes daily can facilitate stress reduction and yield significant improvements in mental health long term

Small steps may include being more active, taking the stairs rather than the lift, taking your breaks and being intentional with this or introducing self-care activities such as reading a book, going to the gym or eating a meal you enjoy.

In the chaotic rhythm of modern life, stress has become an unwelcome companion for many of us. It lurks in the background, sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly, affecting our mental and physical well-being. While we often talk about stress in broad strokes, there are some surprising aspects of this phenomenon that remain hidden from the spotlight. 

Here are three things you probably didn’t know about stress which can be leveraged to reduce your stress.

Stress Can Be Good for You:

It’s easy to perceive stress as solely negative, but did you know that there’s such a thing as “good stress”? Termed eustress, this type of stress is the kind that motivates us, drives us to perform better, and helps us grow. Think of the exhilaration before giving a presentation or the buzz of excitement before a big game. Eustress can enhance our focus, boost our productivity, and even improve our immune response. The key lies in how we perceive and manage it. Embracing challenges with a positive attitude can turn stress from a foe into a friend.

Your Gut and Stress are Intimately Connected:

The gut-brain axis is a complex network linking our gastrointestinal tract with our central nervous system. Recent research has shed light on the profound connection between our gut microbiome and stress levels. Surprisingly, the state of our gut flora can influence how we perceive and respond to stress. Stress can disrupt the balance of bacteria in our intestines, leading to a cascade of physiological effects. Conversely, maintaining a healthy gut through probiotics, prebiotics, and a balanced diet may help mitigate the impact of stress on both mind and body.

Stress Can Shape Your Brain:

Chronic stress doesn’t just weigh heavily on our minds—it leaves its mark on our brains too. Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to stress hormones like cortisol can shrink the size of certain brain regions, particularly those involved in memory and emotional regulation. Moreover, stress can remodel neural circuits, affecting how we perceive and cope with future stressors. Understanding these neural changes highlights the importance of stress management techniques such as mindfulness, exercise, and social support in preserving brain health.

Stress is a multifaceted phenomenon with surprising nuances. By embracing eustress, nurturing our gut health, and safeguarding our brains, we can navigate the complexities of stress with resilience and well-being.


To see how we can empower you to manage stress in your organisation of yourself – book a call here.

Martina Witter
Award Winning Health and Well-being Consultant I Accredited Cognitive
Behaviour Therapist I Resilience Expert I Speaker I Mindset Coach

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