It is said that the instinctive response to stress or danger is either fight or flight.

These may well have been the only choices for our distant ancestors, but why do we go to this place within ourselves for every little stress in our lives? Have we become so conditioned by our genetic patterns that we forget we actually have a choice in how we respond to the circumstances of life?



You and I are not going to meet a sabre-toothed tiger on the way to work, and it is unlikely that most of us are going to be taken hostage or experience a famine in our lifetime. What do our first-world stresses actually look like?



Maybe it’s a trip to the dentist?

Perhaps it’s opening a bill and fretting that you don’t have the money to pay it.

Or, here’s a common one: mother-in-law is coming to visit.

What about for children? Stress is there without fail every time their parents fight. And it’s bound to be ignited whenever there is a test or exam.

Maybe you’re experiencing menstrual stress due to nutritional deficiencies.

Your stress could be because you’ve just had an underlying health condition diagnosed.

Coming home to an untidy house is a stress, whether we’re conscious of it or not.



What about the stress of caffeine, sugar or even your daily visit to the gym?

It is absolutely true that stress can trigger the instinctive fight or flight response. But has anyone told you lately that there’s another way? A mindful approach to stressful events?

The difference between our ancient ancestresses and us is that we have the benefit of awareness. We can choose our response.

As someone who has experienced adrenal fatigue twice, I have learnt slowly that I don’t have to respond to so-called stressful situations by zapping my adrenals till there’s nothing left of them. In almost all cases, our ability to deal with stress in a calm, Zen way is based on how healthy we are, not just mentally, of course, but physically. Any deficiencies in core minerals, such as magnesium, lead us to a precipice where it’s really hard to respond calmly, even to ‘little’ incidents.



Most people are terrified of going to the dentist. Me? I love going there. It means about half an hour being horizontal in the daytime, with my eyes closed, resting peacefully.

Here are my top tips for nourishing your adrenals so that they have everything you need to survive should you bump into a sabre-toothed anything.

Nurturing Your Adrenals

Keep an infusion of liquid magnesium. Spray it onto your skin at least twice a day. Not only will you sleep ever-so peacefully, but you’ll find your attitude to most things to be calm and measured. I purchase a brand called Better You magnesium flakes, then mix it with boiled water (just enough water for the flakes to dissolve). This is kept in glass jars with spray nozzles. If you’re going through a lot of stress, ensure you spray every day.

Menstrual migraines? Spray magnesium onto your skin (it’s 8 times more absorbent than tablets or food). Eat three Brazil nuts every day. This will give your thyroid much-needed selenium. Find a good quality kelp for iodine. Limit caffeine, processed foods, and sugar. Get plenty of sleep.

An apple a day not only keeps the doc away, it balances blood-sugar levels as it contains chromium.

Gossip is acidic. Be mindful of what you listen to.

Drink plenty of water. Keep a record, if you have to, to ensure you’re having a couple of litres each day.

Try a floatation tank as part of your regular routine.

Consider weight-resistant exercises to build up your strength and fitness, without the stress of cardio.

If you can’t meditate, devote at least find five minutes a day for some slow, deep breathing.

Be mindful of the company you keep. Some people thrive on being miserable. Don’t let this contaminate your energetic field. To be clear, there’s a huge difference between supporting someone who is going through a tough time, and being around the perpetual moaners of this world.

How often do you get out into Nature? Where possible, spend time barefoot, or lying on the ground. The Earth allows us to dispel radiation from our bodies.

Take time to do NOTHING. Just be. Feel the sunshine on your skin. Listen to the birds. Close your eyes and breathe in the fresh air. Your body needs this.

Listen to nourishing instrumental music.

The most important lesson I’ve learned when healing adrenal fatigue is to take time for having fun. It’s so underrated in this culture. I firmly believe our purpose on this Earth is to have pleasure. Making this a priority in your life will transform the old fight-flight demons. Laughing, joking, spending time with people who make you feel good, will all send loving vibes to your adrenal glands.



At any given moment, we have a choice in how to respond. We can fight. We can fly away. Or, we can tap into our inner calm and recognise that our point of power is in this moment. We can choose to face our ‘stress’ and trust that we are safe, protected and have everything we need.



The truth is that there are many things in life we can’t control, such as the death of a loved one, but we can choose how to take each step. Slowly, mindfully, and with the certainty that as we lean into the situation, we will take what we need to learn from it, and move on. Stronger, wiser…and peaceful.




When I was pregnant with my daughter Bethany, I knew straight away that I wanted a waterbirth. I so strongly resonated with the sea that I swam with dolphins off the coast in the far north of New Zealand.

Seconds after giving birth at home, by candlelight and Mozart, to my daughter Bethany.

Seconds after giving birth at home, by candlelight and Mozart, to my daughter Bethany.

I met with a woman who’d had five waterbirths, and she shared a book with me by Elaine Morgan, called The Descent of Woman. I immediately resonated with her theory of evolution which cites recent geological and anthropological evidence that large areas of Africa were flooded and covered by vast seas, with the exception that some upland areas were islands. Her theory is that one group of apes adapted to an aquatic environment, and when the water receded new ecological opportunities opened up. We lost our hair because it was better to keep warm in water by a layer of fat inside the skin than a layer of hair on the outside. It certainly helps to make sense of the reflex babies have which allows them to be born underwater.

descent1 descent2

We were made to float, it would seem: it’s in our genes.

I’ve always loved water. Warm water. Whether that is because of my connection to my mother’s gorgeous womb, or the ancestral memory of my foremothers, I don’t know. Maybe it’s both. When I float in the water, am I remembering them “bobbing blissfully” and hearing the surf in their ears? Could that shallow salt sea of five million years ago still be so readily heard? I’m certainly open to the possibility.

When I bumped into a friend last week, I had no idea that she’d taken over a local complementary therapy centre. I was really interested to hear about the floatation tank. It sounded peaceful. Paul and I jumped at the chance to have a float.


What I didn’t realise was what a valuable tool it is for health and well-being on so many levels.


I’ve just finished reading The Floating Book: Exploring the Private Seas, by Michael Hutchinson. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I love it when I can match intuition with science.


I wish I’d known about these studies, and had the experience of floating behind me, when I wrote my book Natural Approaches to Healing Adrenal Fatigue. Floating is the perfect antidote (cure) for the rush of hormones which cause stress. An hour in the tank gave me more energy that afternoon than I’d had in ten years. The beautiful thing about floatation therapy is that the effect lasts much longer than your time in the pool. It can last days, and for some people, weeks.

Floating not only alters the set-point to help us lower adrenal activation, but also increases our tolerance for stress. It significantly decreases blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen consumption, blood lactate and muscular tension.

If you suffer adrenal fatigue, it’s worth knowing that floating decreases levels of fight or flight chemicals such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, ACTH, and cortisol. Floating counteracts the fight or flight response. That’s just from one float. And the beauty of it is that is has a maintenance effect, lasting many days after. Studies show that it alters the metabolism (or homeostatic set points). It enhances our relaxation response.

Not only is floating great for easing pain or injuries, and bringing relaxation to our bodies, it has been proven an ideal way to enhance visualisation, due to the effect on the brain waves. Studies show it is an invaluable tool to learning, too. When we float, we are in the ‘zone’, a place of pleasure that allows us to literally go with the flow. Many people have experienced enhanced creativity, inspiration, life-changing insights, and gratitude for life by floating.

I look forward to making floating a regular part of my life, and giving my whole being the nourishment it desperately needs.

If you’re in Cumbria, why not have a floatation session at or look up one local to where you live.