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Stress is a natural psychological and physiological response to a perceived threat or demand. It’s your body’s way of preparing to face a challenging situation, whether real or imagined. When you encounter a stressor (the thing causing stress), your body releases stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, which trigger various physiological changes. These changes are often referred to as the “fight or flight” response and are designed to help you deal with the stressor effectively.

Stress can be categorized into two main types:

  1. Acute Stress: This is short-term stress that occurs in response to immediate challenges or demands. For example, you might experience acute stress when facing a tight deadline at work, preparing for an important exam, or dealing with a sudden unexpected event.
  2. Chronic Stress: This is long-term stress that persists over an extended period, often resulting from ongoing situations or chronic problems. Chronic stress can be related to issues like work-related stress, financial difficulties, relationship problems, or health issues. It can have more profound and lasting effects on your physical and mental health.

While stress is a natural response that can help you perform well in challenging situations, chronic or excessive stress can have negative consequences on your overall well-being. Prolonged exposure to stress can lead to various physical and mental health issues, including:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Digestive issues
  • Weakened immune system
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Cognitive impairments

It’s important to manage and cope with stress effectively to prevent these negative effects. Strategies for managing stress include relaxation techniques, exercise, healthy lifestyle choices, seeking support from friends and family, and, in some cases, professional counseling or therapy. Learning to recognize your stressors and developing healthy coping mechanisms can help you lead a more balanced and less stressful life.

Recent science shows that chronic or excessive stress disturbs the composition and diversity of the gut microbial ecosystem and that it has negative effects on both physical and mental wellbeing. A healthy gut microbiome can also help you become more resilient when dealing with the effects of stress.

Where to find your stress score in the Chuckling Goat Gut Microbiome Test

You will find your stress scores in the “Mental Wellness” report of the Chuckling Goat Microbiome Test.

We use the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) by Sheldon and colleagues (1983) to measure stress. The PSS is the most cited validated questionnaire in stress research. Your score helps you understand the degree to which life appears stressful, and it helps our scientists understand the relationship between stress and the gut microbiome. It will also allow our team of scientists to further the research on the gut-brain connection, helping us establish links between anxiety and different bacteria in your microbial ecosystem.

If you need help for a mental health crisis or emergency, you should get immediate expert advice and assessment. Visit the NHS website to find out where to get urgent help for mental health.

Synonyms: stress, stress disorder, chronic stress, acute stress

Important disclaimer

The Chuckling Goat Gut Microbiome Handbook is an educational resource built to translate complex science into plain English. The information provided on this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your GP or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Always check with your GP for interactions with medications/health conditions before changing your diet or starting to take food supplements.

Questions? Talk to a Nutritional Therapist on live chat!

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