How Stress Impacts Your Brain
Updated: Apr 29
Typically we are told that the body responds to stress via our hormonal and nervous systems. Either hormones carry messages en route from the hypothalamus thru the bloodstream to the abdomen or down nerve fibers from the hypothalamus to the spinal cord.
Research has traditionally shown how we respond physiologically. Yet, studies have proven that stress directly impacts and changes our brains. Our brains change biochemically and physiologically.
Mental performance decreases as stress and anxiety increase. The effects of stressful circumstances can have a lasting impact and may be very difficult to forget because the brain adjusts to them.
Removing stress stimuli from your life or reducing its long-term impact gives the body and brain time to reduce hormones, such as cortisol and ACTH. These play a role in insomnia, reaction to external stimuli, conflict within the brain and powerfully influence mental and physical behavior.
Interestingly, research has found that happiness actually counters the effects of stress and helps you to recover from the stress response quicker.
In a 2006 study, participants rated their happiness more than 30 times a day, and researchers realized their was an association between stress and happiness. The happiest participants had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 23 percent compared to the least happy participants. Also, the level of blood-clotting protein, which is usually higher after stress, was 12 times lower.
This information can help you gain valuable insight into the inner workings of the body and how key it is to increase joy and happiness in your life.
If you give your brain calming time and relax your body with plenty of rest, you will protect yourself from the lasting damage of stress. And don't forget to allow yourself the freedom to experience an abundance of happiness too.