Chronic stress not only negatively affects your body but also your mind. It can shrink certain areas of the brain and negatively impact memory. Stress shrinks areas of the brain associated with the regulation of emotions, metabolism, and memory (Source
). One Yale University of 100 healthy participants observed that stressful events led to less self-control and more unregulated emotions (Source
). Stress can also impact spatial memory. This type of memory affects our ability to recall where things are located, both long-term and short-term.
Ways to protect you from brain damaging stress:
Good Night's Sleep
The hormones released when sleeping are the ones that also reduce stress. The less you sleep, the more your body keeps pumping out the production of stress hormones. This factor may affect the ability to fall asleep the day after. Sleeping the same time everyday and avoiding caffeine after noon can help improve your sleep.
Benefit from the calming properties of healthy food, teas, and herbal supplements. A mindful diet can blood pressure, stabilizing moods, and strengthen the immune system (Source
). Adding foods like mint, turmeric, avocados, chamomile tea, olive oil, leafy greens, blueberries omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin C can decrease stress and improve brain function.
Meditation & Yoga
These practices strength physical and mental disciplines that may help you find serenity of body and mind. They help you be more aware of the present moment and be more mindful. These practices can be used off the mat and help you manage stress everyday.
helps reduce stress by releasing muscle tension. Muscle tension is a response to stress and massage can help untighten them (Source
Get Help If You Need
Talking to someone can take off some of the stress off your shoulders. Whether it’s someone you trust or a professional, talking about your stressors can help reduce cortisol and bring clarity to the source of the issue.
“According to a study led by Sarah Townsend, an assistant professor at USC Marshall School of Business, it is the specific interaction with a person who genuinely understands your emotion and response, and ideally is also experiencing it at the same time, that will provide measurable relief from stress” (Source
Stress will be apart of our life and there is no avoiding. Taking steps to learn how to reduce stress and ho we cope with it can help us manage better.