Stress is everywhere and because it is our reactions to events, it can be different for everyone. Luckily there are some common triggers of which to be aware. Check out this link to see last week’s post and learn how the body reacts to stress and why chronic stress is a huge problem. Next week I will be giving you steps to follow so you can get to the source of your stressors and begin to decrease your levels. When it comes to stress, some types are easier to spot than others. Below is a list of the different categories so that you can more easily decide where your stress comes from because the most effective action comes from a place of knowledge and understanding.

 Common Types Of Stress

This is a great checklist to go through to see how many stressors you have in your life right now. Some you will be able to change and others you may not. It is a great start to just know what triggers you, so you can be better prepared when they come up. This is a list found in the book Staying Healthy With Nutrition.

When reading these, keep an open mind and think of ways these stressors impact you and your life. You may notice that you have some from each category, and that is okay! Being totally honest with yourself is the quickest path to health. 

 Chemical Stress

Chemicals put our body under stress because they are unfamiliar to our system, and the body doesn’t know how to deal with synthetic substances. They can be eliminated from the body or they may be stored in fat cells, the liver, etc, accumulating as we gather more from the environment.

This category can be a hard one to avoid, especially when the chemicals are in the air. This includes pollution, pesticides, herbicides, cleaning products, personal care products, medications and other drugs, caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.

Work through this category slowly by changing the products you use every day in your home and on your body, and work out from there. There is no such thing as perfection with this category. We can only do our best.

 Emotional Stress

This category is what a lot of people think about when they think stress. These are the negative emotions we hold on to and they create the same stress response as described in the previous post. They can include, but are not limited to: Anger, sadness, inability to forgive, fear, frustration.

Now is a perfect time to start working on some of your deep down emotions to help release the stress attached to them. Finding a therapist or some other professional is a great way to work on this.

 Mental Stress

Things like anxiety, worry, high responsibility, long work hours, perfectionism would all fit under this category. These can be related to the beliefs that we hold so dear or parts of us that have been a part of how we think for as long as we can remember. Beliefs like having a lot of responsibility at work or working long hours makes you a better, more productive part of the human race puts you under a tonne of pressure all day, every day. Perfectionism is a pretty detrimental belief as well. To think that anything you do needs to be perfect before you release it out into the world or that you cannot trust anyone to do anything as good as you can really takes a toll on the body and mind.

All of the areas under this category are going to be greatly helped when working with a professional. They can pinpoint the areas where you need guidance, and then will give you good action steps to get you going in the right direction. You do not need to live with the thoughts and beliefs that you have held onto all these years.

The great part about being human is that we are meant to be constantly evolving and learning about life and ourselves. If we do not embrace change, we are not living life to the fullest. You do not need to hold onto these patterns. They can all be left behind for stronger and healthier thoughts and beliefs!

 Nutritional Stress

This can be linked to chemical stress because of all the extras found on food (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides…), but it also includes nutrient deficiencies, macronutrient excesses or deficiencies, eating too much or too little food, sugar excess, and food allergies and sensitivities.
Start by eating more plants. This is a simple first step and will lead to a happier body down the road. You can switch to organic, non-GMO foods, get tested for nutrient deficiencies, eat foods that specifically help with decreasing stress, decide if you eat too much or too little food and adjust from there (or seek counselling if you cannot do this on your own), try an elimination diet if you find you react to more and more foods as time goes on. The idea is to evaluate your diet and see where you can make adjustments to decrease the nutritional stress on the body. It takes time so be patient and loving with yourself.
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 Physical Stress

Physical stress is anything that we can do with our bodies to send it into a stress response. Things like too much or too little exercise, giving birth, travel, moving, too much or too little sleep, smoking, alcohol, repetitive motion, lack of relaxation.
You may be nodding your head to some of these triggers. Do you notice changes in your body with any of the above stressors? Making changes in this area may be the most obvious of all the trigger groups, but that doesn’t mean they will be easier. For example, if you are living a sedentary lifestyle, you know you will need to move more to reduce that stress in your body. If you get too few hours of sleep in a night, you know you need more. The solution is easy, but the implementation may not be. As with anything, give yourself leeway and a lot of love when making a change. You probably won’t break a habit immediately, so allow yourself that space. As you start to notice the positive changes, it will get easier.

 Psycho-Spiritual Stress

Psycho-spiritual refers to the relationship between the mind and spirituality. It involves energy flowing through the body and any breaks or blockages that may occur. Simply put, where the blockages occur, is where pain and/or disease sets in. This category can be anything from negative memories from the past (even if you don’t necessarily remember them), bad relationships now or in the past that have not been dealt with, problems reaching life goals, spirituality or lack of, overall happiness in life, outlook on life, attitude towards self.

As you can see, these are the BIG issues. The things that are difficult to deal with or sometimes to even know about if we keep them hidden deep down. Finding these can be tricky and then working through them is a whole other process.

For this category, if you know you’re dealing with deep-seated emotions, seek a professional that aligns with your views. By this I mean, find someone who does work you believe in: therapist, any kind of energy work (reiki, craniosacral therapy, qigong, acupuncture, shiatsu, acupressure), homeopathy, etc.

You may find that to help with this category of stress takes time and effort. The good news is that you can have some huge gains if you work through these issues.

 Traumatic Stress

This includes injury, surgery, infection, extreme temperatures – anything that causes trauma in the body. With this category, you want to deal with the trauma first through whatever kind of professional care you choose, and then work with your body to help you get better. This can include a special diet for the specific trauma, physiotherapy, chiropractic care, energy healing as above.

The body has specific dietary needs when it is working on healing from a physical trauma, so be sure to seek this information out when in this situation. (Side note – this is a perfect reason to work with me!)

Food is such a huge part of our journey back to health, and I love seeing the positive results when a client follows the recommendations.

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 Final Thoughts

Stress is our reaction to events or situations in our lives, not the actual events themselves. This means we have control over our stress levels and ultimately our health. The following quote is from one of my favourite books, Staying Healthy With Nutrition by Elson M. Haas, MD:
We all need to learn to respond rather than react. Response means to take in any issues, process them, and then come up with appropriate interactions.

When we let chronic stress take hold of our lives, we are more susceptible to health issues such as allergies, heart disease, constipation, depression, asthma, diabetes, weight changes, PMS symptoms, fatigue, infections, cancer, and many more. The list of diseases related to stress is only increasing as time goes on. It is safe to say that if you start an anti-stress routine today, you will be very satisfied with your health and wellbeing over time. Taking time out to relax and assess your life is never a bad thing and will never lead you down a bad path! Check out next week’s post to see how to use this information to your advantage. It will be all about your next steps to reducing stress in your life! If you missed last week’s post about how the body reacts when the stress response is triggered, check it out here. If you know it is time to get on your healthy path, but you really do not know where to begin, schedule a Nutritional Health Assessment call with me! I will help guide you through your next steps when it comes to stress and your health. We will have a 20 minute conversation about where you are, where you want to be, and how I can help you get there. Click here to schedule a time for your healthy future! Yours in plant love, Carly


Elson M Haas, MD. “Staying Healthy With Nutrition.” New York: Celestial Arts, 2006. 597-604. Sherry Torkos, BSc Phm. “The Canadian Encyclodedia Of Natural Medicine Second Edition.” Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2013. 424-428.
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