We all know that stress is bad for us. It makes us feel terrible, it messes with our sleep, it affects our eating habits and digestion. In occasional bursts, stress isn’t harmful and can actually be useful, but it it becomes chronic it can alter our brains themselves.
When your brain detects a stressful situation, your HPA axis is instantly activated and releases a hormone called cortisol which primes your body for instant action.
But high levels of cortisol over long periods of time wreak on your brain. For example, chronic stress increases the activity level and number of neural connections in the amygdala, your brain’s fear centre. And as levels of cortisol rise, electric signals in your hippocampus–the part of your brain associated with learning, memories, and stress control–deteriorate.
Thankfully there are many ways to reverse the effects of cortisol the brain. As the video mentions, exercise and meditation are proven methods to restore a healthy balance within the brain. Just try not to become stressed out about your stress levels…