Stress affects brain activity more than what you know. There are times when you forget or worry by stress. But do you know it can also shrink the brain? In this article, we will explore how does stress affect your brain.
What Is Stress?
Stress is a physiologically and psychologically natural reaction that can have certain health benefits if it occurs in the short term. But if you suffer from chronic stress, you will have a lot of other health risks.
Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones and increasing your heart rate, breathing rate, causing your brain to get more oxygen, but also damaging endocrine activity for a long time.
How Does Stress Affect Your Brain?
The hormones produced by the body to cope with stress not only affect function but also alter the physical structure of the brain.
Hormone cortisol can kill, shrink and stop the production of new neurons in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. Hippocampus is important for learning, remembering and controlling emotions and helps stop stress after it stops.
Frequent stress can also shrink the prefrontal cortex. This negatively affects decision making, memory functioning, and behavioral control.
Stress can also affect stem cells, preventing them from reaching the prefrontal cortex – where cognitive behavioral control patterns form. This makes learning and memory less and anxiety and depression increase.
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Worse still, the stress hormone group can increase the activity and size of a part of the brain called amygdala. Amygdala is very important for the formation and storage of memories related to strong emotional events. It contacts events with emotion and retains in memory for a long time. So we can avoid that event or easily find it later. The changes that cortisol produces increase fear, anxiety, and anger.
This can have a tremendous impact on how we communicate with others, our ability to learn, remember, make decisions and achieve long-term goals. They also make it difficult to control stressful situations in the future and easily get into a vicious circle.
Fortunately, we have found that the effective dose for these negative effects is exercise. Exercise can help shape a brain that can resist stress to increase cognitive function and brain size.
Exercise also stimulates the production of a substance called BDNF (a protein that promotes brain activity), which helps develop healthy brain tissue and eliminate the negative effects of stress. This is a kind of ‘fertilizer’ for the brain.
It holds important and healthy neurons, which help develop new neurons. Exercise means that BDNFs and neurons, especially the hippocampus, will be produced as much.
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Exercise also produces HGH, a growth hormone that is essential for the growth and development of brain and body cells. HGH protects against the atrophy of natural cells of the aging process and increases the size of the brain. Just a quick run of about 30 seconds can also produce 6 folds in HGH and achieve the best results in two hours.
Fortunately, you do not have to exercise too long to gain much benefit. Recent statistics from 10 studies have shown that 5 minutes of exercise is most effective for improving mood and fighting stress.
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Whenever you have time, do something to increase your heart rate and ‘create jobs’ for your muscles. It is the most positive and useful way to deal with stress and maintain a healthy brain with good memory.
Stress not only affects badly our brain but also our other systems, such as the respiratory system, the cardiovascular system, the digestive system, the genitals and the immune system.
Therefore, in addition to regular exercise, we need to maintain a good lifestyle: eating healthy foods, keeping good mood, etc.
Hoping you are well!
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