Neuroendocrinology links experience and behaviour to the action of hormones. This review focusses on the corticosteroids, released in hourly pulses and after stress, to illustrate the integration of body, brain and mind achieved by these hormones. Corticosteroids coordinate cell and organ function in concert with other mediators of the stress response over time spans from seconds to hours, days, weeks, or even permanently. The actions exerted by these stress hormones are mediated by two receptor types that control initial stress reactions and manage the later adaptive phases. How the balance between the stress and adaptive responses contributes to resilience and health is a conundrum to be resolved during the next two decades of the existence of the Journal of Neuroendocrinology.