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High Stress Slows Down Your Brain

Lower Your Stress to Clear Brain Fog

Image by B-D-S

Image by B-D-S

Are there times when you have trouble remembering someone’s name, even someone you have known for a long time? Do you go into a room to do something, but once you get there you forget what you wanted in the first place? How about calling one of your children but calling out a sibling’s name instead – or  even forgetting exactly how old you are?

Forgetting the little things, having temporary memory lapses, feeling confused or out of sorts can be irritating and embarrassing.

These are all symptoms of brain fog, which can be caused by many things, but continual high levels of stress is a common cause. High stress definitely slows down your brain. When you live with chronic stress day in and day out, it can wreak havoc on your body and mind.

Your body increases production of a hormone called cortisol in order to cope. The production of cortisol is important because it maintains homeostasis in your body. It has other functions as well including the regulation of your metabolism and glucose levels in your blood as well as aiding in the short-term memory functions in your brain. It also contributes to the fight or flight response caused by stress or fear. However, if your body produces too much on a regular basis, it can be harmful, which can cause a variety of problems, including memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and making it hard for you to learn anything new.

If you are living with chronic stress, it is time to do something about it!

You may be saying to yourself – “Sure, that would be great, if only I could.”  I have said (or thought) the same thing myself many times. It may seem like the stress you have is unavoidable and… it may very well be.

There are all kinds of stress that seem impossible to alleviate – such as stress at work. When this is the case, it is critical that you learn to manage it, or it will continue to take its toll. You absolutely must find ways to relax and find peaceful down times when you are not at work.

Exercise is a great stress combatant. It helps relieve stress and leaves you feeling relieved and happier as a result of endorphins. Endorphins release a feel good chemical reaction in your brain that leads to a natural high. (BTW – a good belly laugh and chili peppers also stimulate endorphin production.)

What you do to relax should be good for your mind and body. Many people choose to go out for drinks after work to take the load off but these types of activities may only worsen the effects of your stress.

Some positive, healthy ways to relax are: meditation, getting a massage, taking a yoga class or learning tai chi, having a heart-to-heart talk with a close friend, watching a good movie that makes you laugh out loud, being present in the moment to enjoy what is going on around you and having an attitude of gratitude. The important thing is that you find positive ways to relax.

The bottom line is lowering your stress levels will help get your mental clarity back.

** Please note the author is not a medical professional. Every effort has been made to include accurate information, but further research and the advice of a physician is highly recommended before following any of the advice listed.

 

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