The Impact of Stress on the Brain

  • Hippocampus (regulates memory and emotions) - increases in cortisol reducing activity
  • Amygdala - is the hub for emotions and emotional behaviour (how we react) - specifically fear or events we perceive as threatening or dangerous
    • the health of the amygdala plays a primary role in decision making, memory and emotional responses
    • the increase of cortisol inhabits the creation of neutrons-impairing the communication between the memory centres and other areas of the brain that impacts higher cognitive function such as the prefrontal lobe. (limits your ability to process new information effectively)
  • Hypothalamus - one of the most important parts of the brain for keeping the body balanced by functioning as the interface between the interdependent endocrine and nervous system (controls the release and inhibition of hormones)
    • elevates levels of cortisol - your stress hormone and adrenaline to help in 'fight to flight' mode (keeps the body in alert and ready mode)
  • Prefrontal Cortex - controls cognitive behaviour, personality, expression, decision making, learning and moderating social behaviour (differentiating between bad and good)
    • turns stem cels into inhibit connections to the prefrontal cortex; inhibiting learning, hinders complex decision making, rationalizing, and over all learning process - stress keeps body on high alert)

Stress puts your body into a constant 'fight or flight' mode, which is meant to be only a temporary mechanism. It is hard for the body to constantly be on alert and the stress eventually wears the body down as the brain starts to become over loaded. 

Cortisol is a glucocorticoid (steroid hormone), it is produced from cholesterol in the two adrenal glands located on top of each kidney. It is released in times of crisis, exercise, waking up, pretty much anytime stress and adrenaline is involved. Cortisol is released to regulate the bodies energy.

Although stress is very common the body can not sustain being stressed for long durations of time. 

 Stress can be regulated taking the time to wind down at the end of the day or to take breaks and go for walks, nap, listen to some music or just watch tv. You have to give your body and brain time to rest and recuperate so that you are at your full potential when you need it.

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