From Stressed to Feeling Your Best

Stress is what you feel when life’s demands exceeds your ability to meet them. At the most basic level, stress is our body’s response to pressures from a situation or life event. Stress can be positive, keeping you alert, motivated, and ready to avoid danger. Stress becomes negative when you face continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between stressors. As a result, you become overworked, and stress-related tension builds.

Stress and its causes

We evolved the ability to develop stress to help us to react to danger. In stressful situations we have fantastic responses that help us to react quickly and defend ourselves. I refer to that as resolved stress. Resolved stress is described as reacting to a problem and resolving it. Once it’s resolved, we can move on with life.

The issue we’re facing today appears to be unresolved stress. The stress for which there appears to be no solution. I’ve lost count of the amount of people that have financial issues that take over their lives. They are naturally reluctant to confront those issues. So, for example, they become nervous when the postman arrives because it might be a letter from the bank. Whenever they eventually discuss those issues, they inevitably begin the process of resolution. It lifts a weight from their mind and the stress response calms down. That’s just one example but we’re surrounded by them these days. That’s not to mention the stress of the COVID pandemic which can further isolate us, leading to yet greater unresolved stress.

Physical & Emotional Signs of Stress

While your body is hard-wired to react to stress, the longer the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure the more harm it causes to your body and mind. Look out for these signs of stress:   



  1. Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety, or fear 
  2. Changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels 
  3. Difficulty concentrating 
  4. Difficulty sleeping or nightmares and upsetting thoughts and images 
  5. Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes
  6. Worsening of chronic health problems 
  7. Anger or short temper 
  8. Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs 


  1. Being anxious or fearful 
  2. Depressed 
  3. Guilty 
  4. Angry 
  5. Not caring about anything 
  6. Overwhelmed by sadness 

If you experience these feelings or behaviors for several days in a row and are unable to carry out normal responsibilities because of them, seek professional help. 

Stress is Relative

People experience stress differently. As an experiment, hold a glass of water in your hand. The absolute weight of the glass does not matter, it all depends on how long you hold it. If you hold it for a minute or two, it is light. If you hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make your arm ache a little. If you hold it for a day straight, your arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing you to drop the glass to the floor. In each case, the weight of the glass does not change, but the longer you hold it, the heavier it feels to you.

Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little. Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralyzed – incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.

Coping with Stress 

Stressful situations are parts of our lives. You might not be able to change a certain situation, but you can manage its impact on you. The greatest thing you can do, for yourself and your loved ones, is to find resolution. Be honest with yourself if you aren’t coping, share the experience. Managing stress includes:

  1. Eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise and get plenty of sleep. 
  2. Carve time for your favorite activities - such as reading, listening to music, or watching your favorite show or movie
  1. Pace yourself between stressful activities - Organize and prioritize what you need to accomplish at home and work. 
  2. Practicing relaxation techniques - such as yoga, deep breathing, massage or meditation.
  3. Stay connected—Spend time with family, friends and talk often to them. 
  4. Keeping a journal - writing about your thoughts or what you're grateful for in your life.
  5. Positive thinking – Become aware of your thoughts and challenge the negative ones and replace them with positive thoughts. 

Finally, seek the help of a Valeo Wellbeing coach who can help you identify stressors, understand the impact they have on your body and develop long-term healthy habits that will help you feel your best. 

Testing, exclusion diets, and working with a knowledgeable coach may all help to identify the problem and provide long-term, sustainable solutions.

Certainly, enhancing gut health is a great place to start. At Valeo, we don’t want to spend too much time telling you what you can’t do. We’d rather help you to discover what you can do. Our coaches use intolerance testing to learn more about your digestive health, and would rather not restrict your diet, but use the data they have to enhance it.