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Are you excited?

Or are you stressed?

Some people find it difficult to understand the difference between stress and excitement.

Stress is a feeling in the body that is similar to excitement. Elevated heart rate, deeper breathe and a ‘butterflies in the stomach’ feeling are associated with both.

However, the associated chemicals and hormones have profoundly different health effects.

Stress Response

As your body perceives stress, your adrenal glands make and release the hormone cortisol into your bloodstream. Often called the “stress hormone,” cortisol causes an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure. It’s your natural “flight or fight” response that has kept humans alive for thousands of years.  Cortisol then is not necessarily “bad” but too much of it can create lots of issues.

Long-term increased cortisol may increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases. Weight gain. Cortisol may increase appetite and signal the body to shift metabolism to store fat. Lack of energy and difficulty sleeping are also symptoms.

In short, you don’t want a life with lots of cortisol.


Excited Response

Serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins are famously happy hormones that promote positive feelings like pleasure, happiness, and even love.

  • Dopamine: pleasure, motivational role in brain’s development and goal setting
  • Serotonin: mood stabiliser, wellbeing, happiness.
  • Oxytocin: Bonding, love, trust
  • Endorphins: Pain relief, runner’s high, relaxation
When it comes to the excited hormones, too much (or too little) of a good thing, a chemical imbalance of dopamine in your brain is possible. Too little is linked to some mental illnesses, while too much of the feel-good hormone can lead to negative behaviours like being overly competitive, aggressive or having poor impulse control. Some people become addicted to activities like eating, gambling, sex, drinking or recreational drugs and it’s thought that the dopamine hit they get when they indulge plays a role in this.

Touch is the Response Regulator

Touch is the best response regulator for humans. Our stress response is reduced through massage and our excitement response is activated.  You can literally feel the cortisol drain and the endorphins flood in when you are attuned to the practice of massage.

Are you excited?  Or are you stressed?

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