Home » The Debilitating Effects of Stress in Your Brain and How to Overcome Them

The Debilitating Effects of Stress in Your Brain and How to Overcome Them

by Grace Sianna
break away from stress

Stress is part of the modern man’s lifestyle. Though stress has a negative connotation, it can still work to your advantage, particularly in an emergency situation where you’re faced between flight or fight responses. And it can even save your life.

Stress can be harmful when it’s chronic. Chronic stress has been linked to cardiovascular diseases and mental health problems. The effects of chronic stress can be subtle since it can occur in a slow and gradual manner. If you’re unaware, chronic stress may take hold of your life and prevent you from becoming your best self and living a fulfilling life.

Luckily, there are ways that can help you prevent stress from ruining your life. Before going to that, let’s take a look first at how stress can affect your brain.

    • Stress produces an excess of cortisol, which may affect brain function

Among its many other functions, cortisol regulates your response to stress. An excess of cortisol in the brain can create neurotoxins that can attack the brain and kill brain cells.

    • Stress affects your memory and emotions

When under stress, the areas of your brain related to memory become weak and the areas related to emotion become stronger.

    • Stress enhances your feelings of fear and anxiety

Amygdala, the part of the brain that detects fear and prepares for an emergency, increases in size when under constant stress.

    • Stress prevents the production of new brain cells

The inability of the brain to produce new brain cells may result in depression, dementia, and other brain related illnesses.

    • Stress reduces the levels of your neurotransmitters

Lower levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter dubbed as the happy molecule, can result in depression in women and alcoholism and other disorders in men.

    • man stressed beyond his witsStress affects your judgment

When under stress, you’re more likely to think of the worst-case scenarios than positive ones.

    • Stress shrinks your brain

Stress can prevent hippocampus from producing new cells, which reduces your ability to learn fast, remember things, and control your impulses.

    • Stress makes your brain age faster

Stress disrupts the activity of your cells and speeds up your mind and body’s aging process.

On average, stress affects the quality of your life. To prevent yourself from getting overcome by stress, you need to create lifestyle habits that can help you to navigate through life with more sanity amidst stressful situations. The following suggestions can be helpful.

    1. Simplify

Free up some space in your mind and in your life. Sometimes the clutter starts in your surroundings without even you realizing it. The items in your closet that you haven’t used for years can cause mental clutter.

The people around you who don’t see you as a worthy individual is just clutter in your relationships. Simplify your life by throwing away or donating things you no longer need and by ending relationships that are doing you more harm than good.

You don’t have to do this all at once. Do them in the capacity you can for the sake of reducing stress in your life.

    1. Learn to say no

Saying no means creating healthy boundaries for yourself. Helping other people meet their needs and wants is ideal. But when your door is always open, you will have no room left for yourself in the end.

Forgetting your needs while pleasing others isn’t good for yourself. This is the reason why others feel miserable despite being praised by others for their good deeds.

    1. Pay off your debt

A financial crisis could be a great stressor, especially when you’re buried in debt. First of all, pay your debt. Find ways where you can increase your income and decrease your expenses. Learning financial literacy from the experts is also a great way of managing your income and paying your debts in due time.

    1. Practice meditation

Different people meditate in different ways. Some meditate in total quietude, sitting comfortably and focusing only on their breaths. Others consider themselves meditating while doing activities that fully engage their mind and body into the flow, like doing sports or athletic pursuits.

If you haven’t tried meditation, check out the internet for the meditation practices that work well for others. Try them one by one and pick out the one that suits you best. Meditation is not only destressing but can give you lots of health benefits too.

    1. Let go of control

You may freak out when things don’t go the way you want them to. Only that you’re not in control of everything going on around and within you. Though you know getting angry or irritable could not be favorable for you, preventing these emotions from stirring your peaceful existence isn’t just possible. You’re a complex human being who have emotions too. Instead of beating yourself up for emotions society deems unacceptable, learn to accept yourself and your shortcomings. This way, you’ll better understand that you can’t control your boss, the weather or some other things.

    1. Get enough sleep

having a good sleepThe success of your day mostly depends on the amount and quality of your sleep. Though you’re at rest during sleep, your body isn’t. A good sleep releases growth hormones and enables your body to heal and recharge itself. Your mind functions well after a good night’s sleep. When you’re too stressed, combat it with good sleep.

    1. Eat a healthy diet

A nutritious diet is one secret to relieving your body of stress too. Some foods are packed with antioxidants that flush out the toxins in your body and in your brain. You can prevent the free radical damage in the brain by eating fruits, vegetables, dark chocolates, and green tea.

    1. Practice gratitude

Stress has the habit of making you feel overwhelmed by life’s vicissitudes. But instead of seeing the negative side of life, practice being grateful for all the things you have whether they have high or low monetary value. Gratitude helps you to be more optimistic in life. Optimism drives pessimism away, and eventually stress.

    1. Keep moving

Life is full of ups and downs. No matter what you do or how hard you try, things don’t always work on your side. All you need to do is play well the cards you’re dealt with. By knowing how to flow with life’s unpredictability, you’ll be better able to protect your brain and your body from unnecessary stress.

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