Stress and hormone health

Stress and hormone health

Rebalancing stress

Stress is a major problem in our modern world. Our stress response is hardwired through our genes to manage fight or flight and famine and feast situations.  This helped our ancestors survive. In our modern world stress can be relentless and chronic. This can result in an imbalance in production of stress hormone which can cause or worsens many modern day diseases, like heart disease and high blood pressure. It can also wreak havock on hormone balance,  worsening PMS and menopause symptoms, suppressing testosterone in men and causing brain fog and fatigue among other symptoms.

Chronic stress

Chronic stress has been studied scientifically as a phenomenon called “allostatic load”. Managing stress requires attention to the physical stress response as well as psychological aspects. Mindfulness is often used to help with managing your emotional responses to stress.

The NHS website Every Mind Matters has some good information.

Stress management benefits everyone in society. Reducing stress improves productivity in the work place, improves our relationships, enhances our quality of life and improves hormone your health health.

Hormones and stress at work
Hormones and stress at work

Are your adrenals at fault?

Adrenal fatigue is a controversial diagnosis and the term is not universally accepted. This is because it is not a primary adrenal disease. It is a description of symptoms, possibly related to secondary hormone imbalance resulting from chronic stress in which conventional adrenal tests are normal. For these problems, treatment should be aimed at identifying the root cause and treating it, rather than focussing on your adrenal glands, that are simply responding to external stress factors. Consequently chronic stress and adrenal imbalance do not need to be managed by an endocrinologist.
If you do suffer from a primary adrenal disease, this will also be affected by chronic stress. Therefore people with primary adrenal disease should be managed by an endocrinologist.

Here is an article I was involved in writing for Grazia magazine on adrenal fatigue in 2016.

Stress management

There are many ways to target reducing stress and you need to tailor the techniques you use to your individual circumstances for them to work in the long-term. Being self aware about your stress can help you to find different ways that might work for you.

Stress can affect everyone
Stress can affect everyone

Here is an article I was involved in discussing burnout which was published in Prima magazine

Here are some simple techniques that can help reduce chronic stress


Step 1

Step 2

Take a breath of fresh air
Outdoor time whenever you can to blow away cobwebs, ideally on a daily basis Regular outdoor walking, up to 30 minutes per day, will curb both physical and mental stress. 
Mindful breathing (basics of Pranayama) – try to do this several times per day
Inhale, hold, exhale, hold. Try to do each for 3/4/5 seconds, repeat several times Breathing ratios can be adjusted as you become familiar with the exercise with a ratio of 1:2:3.
Take a slowly, slowly approach to adding activity in to your life and then building it up  Ensure any programme is injury-proof.
Ensure good nutrition to reduce brain fog and increase energy
Where possible, reduce high-sugar food and replace with natural high-fibre and complex carbs. Reduce wheat Aim for a rainbow diet of unprocessed food.
Be sleep-savvy
Try to establish a consistent sleep routine Set a realistic sleep schedule and consolidate a regular bed and wake-up time.
Ditch the tech. The average adult spends close to 11 hours looking at a screen per day and checks their phone every 10 minutes
Ensure some tech-free time each day Go on a technology diet. Reduce your screen time by up to 2 hours per day if possible.
Jettison the boom–bust approach
Try to be realistic about goals, commitments and deadlines (pace yourself) – this will make you more time-efficient and less under pressure Keeping to a generally consistent (realistic) schedule will reduce stress debt. 
Me time
5 minutes doing something you enjoy once or twice a day Take up a regular hobby of something you enjoy.
5 minutes stopping what you are doing to do nothing a couple of times per day 5–10 minutes of mindfulness practice (can use an app to help you), several times per day.
Happy time
Anything that brings some laughter in to your life, ideally on a daily basis Regular time doing things that make you happy.
Be mindful, don’t catastrophise and introduce some self-compassion
When you have a negative thought, play a game of finding a positive spin on the thought Learn about the practice of mindfulness.
Address toxic relationships
Spend more time with people whose company you enjoy  Spend less time with the people who make you feel bad.


Other types of meditation, yoga and pilates can all be beneficial.  Physical exercise is an effective stress reliever and having some activity or exercise in your daily routine is a winning formula for stress and wellbeing. Laughter is also a great stress reliever.

Being self aware about your stress can help you to find different ways that might work for you to address stress management and improve your hormone health and well-being.


Hormone Facts & Information