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Helping people live healthier, happier lives

The Biology Of Stress – By Karen Archer

Hormones and Neurotransmitters made within us provide the foundations for life. They exist for our survival – as a species and as individuals – driving us to achieve the things we need and want. Their interactions result in both good and bad feelings and emotion. Love, trust, motivation, energy – or lack of – are dependent on these chemicals.

Biology of StressCortisol: the Stress hormone, makes us paranoid and distrustful, erodes our positive hormones; reducing love, trust and empathy.

Adrenalin: stimulated with Cortisol. Increases our heart rate, fat burning, sugar released into blood for quick energy.

Dopamine: responsible for reward, pleasure and moving towards our goals. Double edged sword for its role in addiction.

Endorphins: Relieve pain, helps us feel good. We can do anything in the presence of high enough levels.

Serotonin: improves our mood and socialisation, gives us pride and significance. Increases connections and gratitude.

Oxytocin: the love hormone. Critical to bond with others, high levels in mums who have just given birth. Creates trust, altruism and generosity towards the ones we love and in our community.

Self Care, Nutrition and Fitness
Self Care happens when:

  • Have a positive influence in our lives including a mentor and a support network
  • Develop Resilience
  • Exercise 4 times per week – helps to deal with stress and keeps you fit (Endorphins)
  • Eat a healthy diet – stress uses up lots of nutrients especially minerals
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol, smoke or use drugs – reduce coffee (Dopamine/addiction)
  • Get help when you need it – especially if you feel overwhelmed and not coping
  • Be organised, have regular routines and plan your day, including meal times (Serotonin)
  • Time out for YOU including Relaxation –music, reading, have a bath, watch a funny video, deep breathing and exercise.

General Food Guidelines:

  • Protein – Salmon, sardines, mackerel/mullet, tuna, Eggs, Tofu, Kangaroo
  • Legumes: soy beans, lentils, kidney beans
  • Healthy Oils – Olive, Avocado, linseed/flaxseed, Nuts and Seeds, Fish.
  • Vegetables – All different colours – fresh as a salad or steamed not fried
  • Fruit – Berries, Citrus, Figs
  • Wholegrains – Brown Rice, Wholegrain bread,
  • Drink Water, Herbal Tea, Mineral Water


AVOID: Fast food, processed food, fatty and sugary foods ie. Lollies, softdrink, fried food

Emergency Help

Seek expert herbalist and nutritionist advice, especially if taking Medication, Breastfeeding or Pregnant! Don’t do it alone…

  • Herbs – St Johns Wort, Kava, Withania, Lemon Balm to name a few
  • Amino Acids – N-Acetyl Cysteine, Tyrosine, Tryptophan
  • Cofactors – B vitamins, Antioxidants, Anti-Inflammatories, Fatty Acids