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Stress Awareness Month 2022

Stress awareness month is an annual even that has been held every April since 1992 to raise awareness of the causes and cures for stress. The last two years have been challenging with disrupted social lives, travel restrictions and working from home keeping us in one place for long periods of time. This has led to many individuals feeling a heightened sense of stress, loneliness, and a lowered sense of wellbeing.

Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing and is our body’s response to pressure. Many different situations or life events, such as those listed above, can cause stress, and is often triggered when we experience something new or unexpected.

Too much stress can affect our mood, body, and relationships and when experienced over a long period of time can lead to a feeling of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion, often called burnout.

The stress hormone

Cortisol is a naturally occurring hormone that plays a key role in the body’s stress response. While it is best known as ‘the stress hormone’, it also contributes to many of the body’s processes. It’s secreted by the adrenal glands and is involved in the regulation of the following:

  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Immune function
  • Inflammatory response
  • Insulin release

The adrenal glands release cortisol in response to stress or fear as part of the body’s fight or flight response and although cortisol is important for your body to function normally, too much cortisol can be bad for your health.

Happiness chemicals and how to hack them

As well as cortisol, there as a number of other hormones that impact the way we feel including serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins.

While we can’t all be happy and stress free 100% of the time, making a conscious effort to incorporate activities into our days that get the happy hormones flowing can help to boost our mood each day!

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