Stress is a natural phenomenon designed to serve as the body’s natural survival reaction to real or perceived threats. It is a complex and multifaceted function and its purpose is to allow organisms to adapt quickly to a potentially dangerous situation, promoting an individual’s likelihood of survival. Stress levels peak markedly in a ‘fight or flight’ incident, then reduce again after danger has passed. Stress is designed to work in an acute situation, but when the stress becomes chronic – as is often the case in many modern lifestyles - the body remains constantly on high alert, potentially causing a number of stress-related symptoms. While the exact mechanisms behind it are not clearly understood, stress is recognised as having a major impact on overall human health and wellbeing and, indeed, may directly or indirectly lead to illnesses such as organic or functional disorders, cancer and mental health conditions. Mental health issues and stress-related diseases are becoming ever-more prevalent as modern lifestyles become more pressured, particularly within sub-populations such as those who work in hospitals and in industry. However, the general population is also becoming increasingly affected by stress. Professor Kenji Kanbara, from the Department of Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Medicine at Kagawa University in Japan, is a medical doctor who has an extensive experience in understanding more about stress-related illnesses. ‘Psychosomatic processes are subconsciously progressive, and the health threat is significant for that reason,’ he highlights. Thus, it is important to be able to recognise and deal with increased stress levels to forestall further health issues.