Stressed – it’s something we all want to get away from.
But the fact remains that stress is part of life. You seem to see it everywhere and feel as if it’s overwhelming you. When ignored, it can put a toll on your health. It can make you vulnerable to almost any type of illness or disease. We tend to be aware of the effects of stress on our hearts and immune system as we always hear about these responses to stress, but did you know that stress affects your brain?
How can you tell if your brain is stressed? Do you notice how your body and your mind feel when you are stressed? Does it feel like almost everything is falling apart? Do you find it hard to focus on what you are doing; do you forget things – even important things? Are you more irritable than usual and have you stopped doing the things you used to enjoy? Do you feel more emotional and find yourself on the brink of tears more than you used to be?
The question really is – why?
For decades, scientists have been trying to understand how stress affects the brain. Recent research suggests that chronic stress creates physical changes in the brain. This affects key areas involved in memory formation and emotional processing. It has been noticed in clinical trials that stress affects two important regions in the brain. The hippocampus and the amygdala. When under stress, there is an enhanced activity in the amygdala (its role is to regulate emotions and pleasure) thus enhancing emotional symptoms. Because of this, the brain finds it difficult to transmit factual information and just relies on emotional experiences.
When the brain is under stress, levels of the stress hormone, cortisol rise, the effect of which can be toxic on the body. The more stressed you are, the more cortisol you manufacture. Constant cortisol production can result in increased levels of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and burnout.
Early indicators include being too easily irritated, even angered by the simplest of things, being more susceptible to colds and illness than usual, not sleeping so well, lacking interest, feeling more emotional and having weight issues. You may well notice your ability to concentrate declines and you become more forgetful. In addition, the part of your brain responsible for forming new memories is affected, and this part of your brain can shrink.
So if you feel you need to slow down and get your life back on track, and you don’t know where to start, you may find that a course of Solution Focused therapy really helps you to respond well to stressful situations and help you develop more helpful patterns of behaviour. So if you feel that you need to get the year off to a better start, contact NEIL COX at Neil Cox Hypnotherapy.