Thoughts 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.
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.

Stress Quiz and self-assessment 

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.

Apps for lowering stress

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.

Support for stress

  • Project5
    Free 1-2-1, confidential support sessions available for our NHS people. 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.

Advice about stress and Covid-19

If you’re feeling stressed about coronavirus, Good Thinking recommends the following articles and podcasts. You can find lots more information in our COVID-19 advice hub.