We have entered an age of extreme uncertainty. No one knows what is around the corner, how the virus will continue to spread, how long this situation will last, whether there will be further lockdowns or how we will be able to protect ourselves against the immediate and longer-term future.

All of this is playing havoc with the brain.

The human brain hates anything it cannot predict. Its key role is to keep us alive and in order to do this, it must scan the environment and make rapid determinations as to what may be safe or dangerous. When it is unable to do this it starts to feel anxious. A recent study at UCL (University College, London University) has highlighted that as uncertainty levels rise, so too do our stress levels. Anticipating an unknown future produces more of the stress hormone cortisol than looking back at something bad that actually did happen.

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Why is stress so bad for us?

Stress is a word that is bandied about freely. It is worn like a badge of honour by some and sadly still shunned by others. Companies are increasingly getting on the ‘health and wellbeing’ bandwagon to showcase what they are doing to help their people.

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