The situation is appraised and perceived as stressful
Hypothalamus is alerted. This recognises the stress as chronic
Hypothalamus activates the HPA axis, which is also known as the Pituitary Adrenal System
This stimulates the Pituitary Gland in the brain
The pituitary gland causes the release of several hormones including ACTH, which stands for Adrenocorticotropic hormone
The release of ACTH stimulates the adrenal cortex to release corticosteroids, the key one being cortisol
The release of these hormones has a number of physiological effects on the body. Some of these are positive, such as a constant supply of energy to the muscles. Some of these are negative, such as suppression of the body's immune system as a way of conserving energy.