Stress Less for Brain Health
Stress is resourceful as long as it doesn’t last. Without stress, you wouldn’t be motivated, sharp, or focus to excel or go beyond your limitations. However, if you start sleeping restlessly, if you are feeling irritable or moody, if you are forgetting little things, and undergoing overwhelm and isolation, prolonged stress may have started to change your brain.
Physical, mental, emotional chronic stress affects your brain structure as well as your brain functions.
Let me share four scientifically researched facts with you:
1- A real or a perceived threat has the same aftereffects. In our modern living, chronic stress is more about perception that tangible facts.
2- Being under chronic stress equals being stuck in a defensive mode. When you are under chronic stress, you fear more, worry more and are more aggressive because your amygdala (also called the reptilian brain) hypertrophies over time. Chronic stress is therefore not conducive of pacified social interactions.
3- Over time, stress shrinks your hippocampus (memory centre) and your prefrontal cortex (your rationalisation centre). When you do buffer your stress response, you keep your mind healthy, your mood calm and stable and your memory active.
4- Stress begins in the brain and affects every cell in the body. Persistent circulating cortisol (the main stress hormone) leads to behavioural changes, such as eating more sugar, drinking more alcohol, smoking or taking drugs.
Stress less to eat healthy, eat healthy to stress less!