Feeling unorganized and forgetful is normal when you’re under a lot of stress. However, stress can modify your brain and impact your memory over time. Studies show that stress affects how the brain and body operate. Stress not only impacts memory and numerous additional brain processes, such as mood and anxiety, but it also causes inflammation, which negatively impacts heart health. As a result, stress has been linked to several chronic brain and heart disorders. Furthermore, it might impact men and women differently.
Our bodies are well prepared to deal with stress in tiny doses, but when that stress becomes long-lasting or chronic, the effects of stress on the brain and body can be catastrophic. You can consult a doctor at the Aster RV Hospital Bangalore through the Credihealth website for more details.
What are the effects of stress on the brain?
Understanding why stress impacts thinking and memory requires a basic understanding of how the brain functions. Your brain isn’t simply a single unit but various sections that execute various jobs. According to researchers, while one area of your brain is engaged, the other regions of your brain may have less energy to accomplish their critical jobs.
In a frightening or emotionally stressful circumstance, for example, the amygdala, the region of your brain that handles your survival instincts, may take over. As a result, the areas of your brain that assist in storing memories and doing higher-order activities have less energy and capacity to complete their responsibilities.
The underlying premise is that the brain is shifting resources since it’s in survival mode, not memory mode. This is why you may need to be more mindful when stressed or have memory gaps following unfortunate occurrences.
How stress affects the body and brain may also change depending on when it occurs in a person’s life. Gonadal hormones, released at significant levels throughout fetal development, puberty, and pregnancy and decreased at menopause, may affect how stress affects an individual. Reduced levels of the gonadal hormone estradiol, for example, during the menopausal transition, may alter how our brain responds to stress.
There is evidence that prolonged (ongoing) stress can rewire your brain. Scientists have discovered that animals exposed to extended stress had less activity in sections of their brain that handle higher-order activities, such as the prefrontal cortex, and more activity in primitive portions of their brain that focus on survival, such as the amygdala. It’s similar to what would happen if you only exercised one section of your body.
The component engaged more frequently grew stronger, while the part that received less attention weakened. This is what goes on in the brain when it is constantly stressed. It effectively strengthens the portion of the brain responsible for dealing with dangers, while the part of the brain responsible for more complicated reasoning takes a back seat.
These brain alterations may be reversible in some cases but more difficult in others, depending on the type and length of stress. While stressful childhood events tend to have a more significant impact on the developing brain, some study has discovered that people who exhibit resilience in the face of prior childhood trauma appear to have evolved new brain mechanisms to adapt. These new connections are expected to aid in the recovery from stress-related brain alterations that occurred earlier in life.
What are the effects of stress on the body?
Stress can affect the body in many ways, such as when we are stressed, our appetite suffers. The liver creates more blood sugar during this period to boost your energy. The body is often unable to handle this spike in sugar levels, putting itself at risk of developing Type-2 diabetes. Because of the rise in stomach acid, you are more likely to suffer acid reflux or heartburn.
When we are confronted with a stressful situation, our muscles stiffen. The muscles are unable to relax throughout lengthy durations of tension. Muscle tension and tightness create body pains, neck and shoulder discomfort, and headaches.
Long periods of stress reduce a man’s testosterone levels. Stress can also impair sperm production and lead to erectile dysfunction. Prolonged stress can disrupt a woman’s menstrual cycle, resulting in irregular, heavy, and painful periods.
The heart beats quicker while under stress. Stress hormones assist in directing more oxygen to your muscles, preparing you to deal with stress. However, this raises your blood pressure. Thus, chronic stress causes the heart to overwork for an extended period, and high blood pressure enhances the chances of heart attack and stroke.
Other common stress-related behaviors include drug/alcohol addiction, tobacco usage, overeating or undereating, withdrawal symptoms, and feeling overwhelmed.
Tips for Dealing with the Effects of Stress on Your Health
Stress may negatively influence health if it is not appropriately controlled. When you’re feeling anxious, try these suggestions:
- Determine the trigger: Recognize your stress levels. What is it that is bothering you? Is it related to a job, money, a relationship, or something else? Once you understand this, you can start healthily dealing with stress.
- Consult a therapist or counselor: Inform them of your situation and feelings. They can assist you in identifying what is causing you stress and provide helpful advice on how to deal with it. If you have an employer-sponsored plan, they may provide an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAPs often give free, confidential contact to a counselor or therapist as part of your work benefits.
- Get moving and exercise: Getting active is one of the simplest but proven effective methods to de-stress. Walking, bike riding, running, gardening, yoga, or weightlifting may all affect your attention and brain chemicals. Endorphins are chemicals that help you feel better and happy when you exercise. Stress may be kept at bay while you are happy. Daily exercise and mobility are essential for mitigating the effects of stress.
- Meditate: Meditation has been shown to decrease blood pressure and reduce anxiety and stress. If you’re anxious, you may attempt a meditation method or some calm awareness to help you cope.
- Engage in exciting activities: Look for a hobby or a volunteer opportunity. When doing something you like, your attention is diverted from your tension and directed elsewhere.
- Reduce your use of nicotine and tobacco: Nicotine is frequently referred to as a stress reliever by regular users. Even though it appears to ease your anxiety at the time, there are some startling repercussions you’d prefer to avoid in the long term.
- Make time for yourself: Make a ‘Me Time’ schedule and stick to it. The demands of our everyday lives can be taxing, and exercising self-care in whichever way makes you happy is critical. Make time to do activities that truly bring you joy!
The musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, neurological, and reproductive systems are all affected by stress. Stress may harm both physical and mental health. Many stress-management strategies have been discussed; these techniques offer significant physical and mental health advantages and are essential building blocks for a healthy lifestyle.
There are several strategies to handle stress if you want more assistance or are facing significant or chronic stress. You can also discuss stress and health concerns with a doctor at the Aster RV Hospital Bangalore through the Credihealth website for more details.