Are You Stressed?


We are at a point in history where everyone is stressed.

Many people don’t often think about stress because they consider they have a normal amount of stress.  They know they have a lot of stress in their life but they consider they ‘manage it’ successfully so they’re not abnormally stressed.    However, they are almost certainly in denial that they’re stressed!  Simply by living in the modern world your body is under constant stress.

We often think of stress as being either overwhelmed and burnt-out, or tense, worried and wound up.  Often the measure of being stressed, how we recognise it, is associated with anxiety.  If people don’t really recognise themselves as anxious they assume they’re not stressed.

Even if we’re not overly stressed ourselves we all know how each of these states appears.  Plus, we know that these states all have a negative effect on us, even if we’re not actually sure of the exact details.



How Stress Affects Us


When we’re under stress our body reacts by releasing stress hormones from the adrenal glands which cause the fight or flight response.  These hormones, adrenaline and cortisol initially help us to cope with potentially dangerous situations.  Ideally, as the stressful situation improves the hormone production switch turns off.  But when stress is ongoing and stress levels are unchecked our body continues to release these hormones into our bloodstream.

Our whole system stays on constant high alert.  When this happens we’re headed for trouble as problems such as high blood pressure, depression, headaches, insomnia and chronic disease, plus many other issues, arise.

However, most people don’t recognise when their body has reached this point.  So they continue on with the same practices that caused, or at least maintained, the highly stressed state in the first place.



How To Recognise You Are Stressed


Many of us have been taught that it’s our responsibility to ‘soldier on’.  We feel an oppressive obligation to push through stressful situations in order to meet both the expectations of others and the expectations we place on ourselves.  When we dedicate our energy to meeting these, often unrealistic, expectations we leave ourselves no room to assess whether these expectations are either reasonable or sustainable.  We continue on a downward health spiral until we have buried ourselves in a quagmire of inflammatory disease, or we suddenly fall apart, overwhelmed and burnt out.

Almost all of us have self-destructive practices relating to stress that we continue to do as part of everyday life.  But it’s absolutely essential that we become aware these in enough time to modify them before we reach this end stage of burnout.



Access Your Cell Memory


All your memories are held in the cells of your body.  Your body serves as a repository of data about how you responded emotionally to experiences in the past.  You can always access memories that have become obscured or confused in your brain, or have been buried within your subconscious, by tapping this library of memory held within your cells.  These retained memories can be accessed through the senses.

We start this process by becoming familiar with how our body retains the memory of stress, where in our body it is held and what the different types of stress memory feel like.

This information becomes available to us when we ask our body to show us this information and then notice the response.  When we remain open to whatever and however the information is presented to us we can easily learn to recognise and interpret it.

It’s very important to remain open to whatever you receive after asking the questions.  The information may be presented through any one of your senses – sight, hearing, physical touch, emotional feeling, taste, smell, or a strong knowing.  It may be imparted through a vision or a colour, a spoken word, a snatch of music, an evocative smell, a tingling or tightening or any other feeling, a sadness, a caught breath or any other embodiment of any of your senses.

Ask the following questions in relation to all aspects of your life, but start by applying them to the area you are finding the most challenging right now.   For example, if you are experiencing stress in relation to your career which you can easily recognise, begin with this.  Or if you are going through a rocky patch in your relationship, start with that.  Wherever you are currently facing the greatest challenge is where you need to begin.  Once you have worked through that challenge move on to another area of your life and go back and ask these questions of that area also.

These questions will help you to honestly assess your own current levels of stress and the impact it is having on your body, mind, emotions and soul.  It will assist you to clarify and identify the major sources of stress in your life and to begin to set in place a plan of action to reduce them.




The “Am I Stressed?” Questionaire


Name the area of your life you are finding stressful . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


  1. Does this challenge relate to a particular person? Who?

Is the primary cause my own expectations?  Is it the expectations of others?

Are external factors a prime cause of this stress?  What are these?

For example, an external factor may be having to leave your children in the care of others, in order for you to work.



  1. Do a quick scan of your whole body.  Notice whereabouts in your body your attention lands or to which part of your body it is drawn.
  • Are there any sensations you are aware of here?
  • Is there anything else connected with this point in your body (thought, memory, colour, shape, etc)?
  • Does this point in your body seem to have a connection to any other part (this may not be an actual physical or physiological connection)?



  1. Where can I feel the stress in my body? This may manifest as a physical symptom, an emotion, a physical feeling, etc. Be open and notice whatever you notice.  Don’t dismiss anything.
  • Does my neck feel tight or do I have a headache?
  • Do I have any other aches, pains or discomforts?
  • Is my jaw tight?
  • Do I have butterflies or knots in my stomach?
  • Am I grinding my teeth?
  • Am I sweating or trembling?
  • Are my muscles tight, does my back ache or my shoulders?
  • Are my hands clenched?
  • Am I having difficulty breathing?
  • Do I have palpitations or a racing pulse?
  • Are any muscles or nerves twitching?

However, don’t be limited by these questions, because your stress may look like any other sensation or behaviour instead.


  1. If your stress has been going on for a long time ask yourself whether you have some of the following symptoms.
  • Insomnia
  • Memory loss
  • Fatigue
  • Indecisiveness
  • Digestive problems – bloating, nausea, indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Excessive worry
  • Skin outbreaks
  • Nervous habits (eg: biting your nails)


  1. Remain calm and cool-headed, and without becoming immersed in the associated emotion consider what may have caused the stress. If you find yourself becoming emotional, don’t judge or criticise yourself. Pause, and focus on taking deep breaths into your belly until you once again feel grounded, then ask the question again.  Do this as many times as you need.
  • Can you identify any contributing factors?
  • Has someone done something or said something that upsets you?
  • Have you been working more than usual and skipping meals?
  • How well have you been sleeping?  Have you gone to bed too late?  Are you lying awake worrying and tossing and turning?
  • Do you have issues with your relationship?
  • Are you worrying about a relatives’ health?  Or about your own health?
  • Do you have financial stresses?


  1. If you’ve been experiencing this stress for some time or it is ongoing, go back to the last question and dig deeper.


If you answered yes to any question try to honestly look at what might be behind this.  It often helps to set aside time to go somewhere quiet where you will not be disturbed as you go within.  Meditation can be a great option for this, but any place or activity where you can shut down the active thoughts that take over deep, honest investigation, is perfect.

Start by investigating the easier aspects before delving deeper.  For example, if someone else is involved how do they make you feel?  How do you respond to them?

Examine at what point of the day your stress kicks in.  What is happening at this time?  Is there a common thread between each incident?  What is there about this circumstance that causes you stress?

Once you identify something as problematic keep asking the questions such as “why do I react to this?” over and over as you receive each insight.  This will take you deeper and deeper into the real trigger, which can be tricky to find as it is often buried under layers of other apparent causes.

For example, if poor sleep is a factor, become clear about whether your problem is too little sleep or interrupted sleep.  Then go further and focus on what keeps you awake, wakes you up, or prevents you from going back to sleep.  It could be a wide range of causes.  If it is worry or repetitive thoughts go deeper into these rather than simply identifying them an ask why these are particularly worrying for you.  See if you can get to the original place or person they came from.  Continue to ask “Why?” as you receive each insight until you reach something that lands hard or stops you in your tracks.



Where Next?


Now you’ve become aware of the signs in your body that you’re stressed and identified some of the triggers behind your stress, it’s time to create a plan to deal with it.  Decide which areas you need to focus on first and start your research.  Speaking to a professional can provide support and help you narrow your focus if you feel confused.


Some areas you could include are:

  • Healthy Eating and Nutrition.  Reduce foods known to aggravate stress such as caffeine, sugar and all processed foods.  Eat more foods that lower cortisol including chocolate, garlic, bananas and certain herbal teas.
  • Set some good sleep habits in place.
  • Exercise, especially when you become conscious of feeling stressed.  Identify a physical activity that helps you  dispel the negative energy build up.  It may be running, or yoga, dancing, gardening or even shaking yourself vigorously.
  • Breath: Practice breathing slowly, deeply into the belly, until it becomes your normal pattern.  Employ breathwork exercises when you feel particularly stressed.
  • Schedule time to undertake practices that ground you, so you keep you on top of the stress.
  • Create a support crew and talk to them about how you feel, don’t bottle it up.
  • Notice how you talk to yourself.  If you don’t speak to yourself in the same kind loving way you speak to your friends, change it, so you are more gentle and accepting of yourself.
  • Get a health check-up and any relevant tests.


There are many natural remedies you can buy over the counter that help with the simple forms of daily stress.  They are excellent for getting you through temporary stressful times.

However, if your stress doesn’t resolve quickly, or you are unable to identify where the stress comes from, or if in spite of making changes you still feel overwhelmed, overtired, with foggy thinking, or you have any ongoing symptoms that may be the result of the stress (even if they don’t really seem related), or if you are in the midst of a major stressful life-event, you need to seek professional help.





All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation with your health care provider. Do not use this article to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think your condition may be serious or before discontinuing any prescribed medication. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.