Weve all had those days where we simply dont have a moment to breathe. After you drop the kids off at school you have to pick up the dry cleaning and get to work yourself. In addition to picking the kids up from school, you also have to run to the store and get dinner on the table. Life can be exhausting and stressful and it could affect you more than you realize!
Effects of Stress on the Body
Stress is a natural reaction and it is something you cant always control. Deep breathing exercises can help you to calm down in a stressful situation, but your body will still react. For many people, stress incites feelings of anxiety and worry it could also speed up your heart rate and breathing.
In addition to these physical symptoms, stress could also affect you in ways that you cannot see. Extended periods of stress, for example, can lead to cognitive problems such as memory loss and difficulty concentrating. These things, in the long run, could add to your stress which makes it a never-ending cycle.
Anxiety and Brain Health
With stress, many people also experience anxiety and increased worry. I remember a specific time when I was supposed to pick up my son from soccer practice but I had misplaced my keys. I spent ten minutes rushing frantically around the house looking for them only to find that, in my hurry, I had knocked them off the kitchen table and under the chair.
When we become stressed, it sometimes feels like everything seems to fall apart. You lose your keys, forget important things at work and waste an inordinate amount of time worrying about things we just cant control. With our brains running a mile a minute, its no wonder we get a little forgetful and frazzled.
We all know that stress can make you a little crazy but scientists have discovered that stress actually changes the way your brain processes and stores information.
Research recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that periods of stress induce significant changes in the brain that can be linked to both emotion and memory this may explain why we feel overly emotional and forgetful when we are stressed. Stress impacts two important parts of the brain: the amygdala and the hippocampus.
The amygdala is part of the limbic system and it is responsible for processing emotions. The hippocampus is also part of the limbic system and plays a significant role in long-term memory. During periods of chronic stress, the electric signals to the hippocampus weaken while those to the amygdala become stronger this results in weakened memory and intensified emotion.
This is often seen to be the case in stress-related psychiatric disorders. Think about it when you realize youve forgotten an important file at work you are more likely to think about how anxious you are to complete the project, overlooking the fact that it isnt even due until the end of the week.
The brain is an amazing organ but incredibly difficult to understand. It is important to realize, however, the things which have an effect on your mental ability and productivity. Stress can be very damaging to your memory and can intensify your emotions, making stressful situations seem even worse. If you realize this tendency of the brain, however, you will be better able to manage stressful situations much more quickly.