Health

The Effect of Stress on the Brain

Stress has many long-term, negative effects on the entire body, but the area that it may be most detrimental is the brain.

Researchers found that stress changes how the brain processes information, including interfering with cognition, attention, and memory. More concerning is the potential for increased inflammation in the entire body and a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The brain is made up of many individual parts that work together, but when stress occurs the parts of the brain that dictate survival instincts consume more energy. This leaves other parts of the brain to function more poorly, resulting in health problems. 

Interestingly, under constant stress, the part of the brain dedicated to those survival instincts may also become more dominant. This can lead to a situation where you become wired for stress and may struggle to find ways to cope.

If you recognize that you have stress and are looking for ways to help manage it, then this article is for you. Keep reading to learn about some of the stress management suggestions you may be able to bring into your life.

Stress Management Suggestions

The best way to prevent changes or damage to the brain is by doing more to try and manage stress. Of course, not all stress is the same, and how each person reacts to stress can be different. No matter the category of stress you fall into, lifestyle changes may make a big difference, including the following:

  • Know when you can’t control the situation and when it isn’t worth stressing over.
  • Focus energy on the things that you can control, like your hobbies, relationships, etc.
  • Get enough sleep and eat right to maintain an overall sense of wellness and energy to deal with stressful situations.
  • Use organizers and task lists so you feel less “bombarded” about forgetting things or losing track of your day.
  • Be more positive and look for the good in bad situations, and try to find solutions quickly to help you gain control of your situation. 
  • Don’t use alcohol and drugs in response to stress as they may only offer temporary relief and won’t contribute to building healthy habits.
  • Know when to contact a professional to discuss your concerns.

Another option includes the use of essential oils. The use of plant essences for medicinal support is a practice that goes back centuries. Today, we still use essential oils because so many people swear by their effectiveness. 

Any oil will do, but you may want to consider soothing plants like lavender or chamomile to help ease stress. 

But before you shop for essential oils, keep in mind that not all oils are made the same. Some brands use artificial fragrances and fillers that may not provide the feelings of relief you want. So when choosing an essential oil, make sure to shop a brand you can trust. Both NOW Foods and Aura Cacia are highly rated and affordable, and offer a variety of plant essences for you to experience. 

If you aren’t sure how to use essential oils, check out this guide from the University of Minnesota, and see if essential oils make a difference in how you respond to stress!

Meta: Stress can affect the function and health of the brain, so see if trying these stress management techniques and essential oils help you to ease your stress. 

Author

Eleanor Ward