Stress is a common and regular part of our lives. Your body is like a city that is constantly busy, and chronic stress can bring it to a halt and disrupt its normal functioning. This is because stress, if uncontrolled, can become a risk factor for a variety of health conditions, such as fertility issues, cardiovascular diseases, immune disorders, diabetes, etc. In addition, chronic stress can also cause havoc on the brain, including brain shrinkage. Read on to find out the brain shrinkage effect of stress.
HOW DOES STRESS SHRINK THE BRAIN?
While the overall volume of the brain remains the same in healthy individuals, chronic stress can cause the areas of the brain associated with memory, emotions, and metabolism to shrink. Here’s how it happens:
When you’re extremely stressed, a large amount of cortisol is released. Cortisol is responsible for your fight or flight response and controls how the brain grows. Normally, cortisol enhances memory function and enables you to escape dangerous situations, but you’re supposed to experience this high level of cortisol once in a while. When the level of cortisol is constantly high, it can trigger the death of brain cells and brain shrinkage. Chronic stress can also shrink the area of the brain responsible for processing emotions, which can lead to depression and anxiety.
Other effects of stress on the brain include:
- Stress can cause memory loss.
- It can change the structure of the brain.
- It can affect your cognitive function.
- Stress can affect your sleep, which can impair the functioning of the brain and make you feel sluggish.
HOW TO OVERCOME THE BRAIN-ALTERING EFFECTS OF STRESS
- Give your brain a break: Take some time to just relax your brain. You can meditate, listen to relaxing music, etc. These may not magically make your stress evaporate, but they can help you better manage it.
- Eat well: Your brain relies on glucose to perform optimally. Eat foods that promote brain health, such as fish, avocados, nuts, vegetables, etc. You can also supplement with NATURE’S FIELD GINKGO BILOBA which acts as a powerful antioxidant and improves blood flow to the brain. It also boosts memory and cognition and is an easy way to ensure your brain remains sharp and functions properly.
- Enhance your sleep: Sleep helps to solidify long-term memory. It also improves your cognitive function and clears out toxins from the brain (yes, I was surprised to learn this as well). Ensure that no matter how busy you are, you get adequate sleep to rejuvenate your entire body.
- Exercise: Both physical and mental exercise are important for your brain. You can cultivate the habit of reading a book, solving puzzles, dancing, or doing any exercise of your choice that isn’t too strenuous.
Your brain is a fascinating organ that is also one of the hardest-working parts of your body. Taking good care of it is a necessity. Therefore, focusing on your brain’s health is one of the best things you can do to improve your concentration, memory, and cognitive function, no matter your age.
On this World Brain Day, we’ve made an effort to inform you of one of the major impairments to brain health, so no one, even people with disabilities, is left behind in the journey to wellness.