A man who looks stressedThoughts racing? Heart rate going up? When faced with danger, your body’s natural reaction is to give you a rush of adrenaline (often called the ‘fight or flight’ response). This feeling of stress is perfectly normal and might happen ahead of an important exam or meeting or after an argument with someone, for example.

As the NHS website says, “Most people feel stressed sometimes and some people find stress helpful or even motivating. But, if stress is affecting your life, there are things you can try that might help.”

If you experience acute (sudden) or chronic (long-term) stress, you might find that you get back pain, stomach upsets, heart palpitations and other physical symptoms. You might also feel tired, irritable, have difficulty relaxing or be unable to concentrate.

Evidence from the State of the Nation report indicates there have been large increases in adults claiming they have been severely impaired from carrying out work due to stress levels. 

Good Thinking offers content to help lower your stress, including apps, articles, podcasts and worksheets. Our self-assessment tool is also a useful way to understand your stress better.

Take our stress quiz to get recommendations for NHS-approved apps. You can also use our free clinically-validated self-assessment tool to assess your stress anonymously – it only takes 20 minutes to complete and will provide you with a guiding diagnosis, helpful resources and, if necessary, relevant treatment options.

Good Thinking recommends NHS-approved apps to help lower stress (many of which are free if you live or work in London), including:

  • Be Mindful (free)
    A clinically proven online mindfulness course approved by the NHS, Be Mindful helps you to manage your stress through mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT).
  • Calm
    The Calm app offers guided meditations, breathing programmes and ‘Sleep Stories’ to help you de-stress and clear your mind.
  • MyCognitionPRO (free)
    By using this NHS-approved programme for 15 minutes a day, you can optimise your cognitive health, mental wellbeing and resilience to stress.
  • My Possible Self (free)
    This clinically proven app can help you to understand and identify the causes of your stress so you can learn coping mechanisms and manage future situations better.
  • tomo (free)
    tomo is expertly designed to support you with many of life's obstacles. The app combines digital peer support with the best of social media and proven therapeutic techniques.
  • Qwell
    A safe and confidential space to share experiences and gain support from our community and qualified professionals.

Project5
Free 1-2-1, confidential support sessions available for our NHS people. Project5.org is an online booking system which gives NHS staff access to free one-to-one support online from a team of accredited clinical psychologists and mental health experts.

Free, psychological support available to you as a health and social care staff member.

  • Self-help guide to help you see if stress if a problem for you, and suggestions to help you overcome and cope with stress. Provided by NTW NHS Foundation Trust. 
  • Self-help guide that includes a stress and worry diary and ways to reduce physical symptoms of stress. Provided by Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. 
  • Overcoming has information about physical signs that you might be stressed, and behaviours associated with stress. There is also recommended reading materials, including Overcoming Stress. The books within the Overcoming series use methods based on clinical practice and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). 
  • Watch this webinar to address your stress. 
  • Stress Management Society has a section on stress at work, ways to help you personally with stress, and practical advice.
  • 10 stress busters from the NHS. 
  • Try practising mindfulness. It can help you feel present and calm. Check out our mindfulness page.
Coping with stress associated with Covid-19: advice for staff


Self-assessment tools

If you are unsure about needing further support, you might want to complete the self-assessment tools to find out more about your symptoms.