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Prolonged Stress Is Damaging To Your Brain – And Your Health

In today’s competitive and fast-paced world, stress is becoming increasingly and worryingly common.  It is no wonder that people struggle with focus, let alone the health impacts that come with it. Short bouts of stress can be life saving, as stress was originally designed to get us out of trouble. Short bouts of stress can help us achieve things that were otherwise seemingly impossible but prolonged stress is harmful to your your brain – and your health.  Here’s what happens when stress is a life-saving tool:

How Stress Can Be Damaging To Your Health“When we are in a situation we perceive dangerous, our body responds in a manner that gives us more energy, focus, keeps us alert and tunes us into an emergency response mode — stress response,” Wamaitha explains.

When in danger, your heart beats faster, your blood pressure increases and you breathe faster, pumping maximum oxygen and energy-rich blood to your muscles. Your liver releases more sugar into your blood, ready for action.

Once your brain decides there’s danger, it sends immediate nerve signals down your spinal cord to your adrenal glands telling them to release the adrenaline hormone. This increases the amount of sugar in your blood, accelerates your heart rate, and raises your blood pressure.

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Unfortunately, as you may expect, this is not good for prolonged periods of time as you’ll see from this excerpt:

This is because it raises cortisol levels — another stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland gradually throughout the day.

But excess cortisol affects your immune system and decrease the number of brain cells, thus impairing your memory.  It can also affect your blood pressure and the fats in your blood making you more prone to a heart attack or stroke.

Cortisol has been shown to damage and kill cells in the hippocampus — the brain area responsible for your episodic memory. Chronic stress triggers premature brain ageing.

In order to manage stress, it is recommended that you undertake regular exercise (shock – exercise is a key requirement for your vital organs to function correctly), eat a well balanced diet and to sleep well;

Handling stress in a manner that is useful results from making a subtle everyday choices.

“Healthy habits can help you avoid or reverse effects of chronic stress. These include regular exercises, eating a well-balanced diet, and observing a healthy sleep regime,” says Wamaitha.

This means falling asleep without difficulties and maintaining that state until it’s time to wake up without going through periods of sleeplessness.

Since change, be it swapping jobs, moving house, marriage or separation can trigger chronic stress, health experts advise that one makes one adjustment at a time.

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It is obviously a concern how prolonged stress is damaging to your brain – and your health, but thankfully there are ways to manage it.  Like with everything else, exercise is highly recommended along with a balanced diet and plenty of sleep.  If you read the full article you’ll see how stress can trigger anxiety disorder. I have a friend who suffered from anxiety for a number of years.  Doctors put him on medication. Doctors are far too quick in my opinion to prescribe drugs that can only be harmful in the longer term.  It doesn’t treat the cause, just the symptoms.  Anyway, my friend was intelligent enough to realise this and decided to come off the medication, after doing a considerable amount of research.  He was able to cure it within a matter of months with regular exercise, a healthy diet and some natural supplements.



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