Dealing With A Silent Killer – Study Shows Excessive Stress Contracts Gray Matter

There is a saying “worry is today’s mouse eating tomorrow’s cheese.” Though as much as we may be aware of the repercussions of stress, we are often unable to deal with this powerful, invisible force. Just like a tiny mouse, it gnaws at our capabilities, leaving us internally crippled.

Much has been said and written about stress, still it is a disease that plagues most of us. There is no straight remedy that can pull away this ailment from its roots. The only way to cope with this recurring condition is to up your motivation and be ready to ward it off by making conscious, healthy lifestyle choices.

There are thousands of studies that show the negative effects of stress on mind and body. A recent research published in Neurology indicates that excessive stress can lead to contracted gray matter in the brain. This in turn leads to low self-control, disturbed thought process and disability to retain memories.

The research was carried out by comparing cortisol levels in people who participated in the study to test the brain’s volume, attention span, and their memory. People with higher cortisol had lower brain volume. Cortisol is a hormone that is directly linked to stress and this important finding indicates that high stress level actually starts shrinking our brain, reducing our mental capabilities.

According to findings by a study carried out by University of California, continued chronic stress for a prolonged period of time can lead to permanent changes in the brain’s composition, leading to mood disorders and anxiety.

Understanding Cortisol

Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is responsible for controlling a wide range of processes within the body such as developing metabolism and immunity. It is also responsible in regulating body’s responses against stress. It can be regarded as body’s natural alarm system that brings together body’s defensive systems, helping it fight back stress. Cortisol is produced by adrenal glands, small triangular objects placed right above the kidneys. It is responsible for keeping body’s “fight or flight” instinct intact during crisis.

Strategy To Combat Stress

There is no simple way to eliminate stress from your life. There is still a lot that is unknown about this silent killer. Advanced research can definitely help us determine the causes for this ailment and we can safeguard ourselves from it. As of now, the only way to combat this poisonous malady is to face it with mammoth motivation.

While chronic and continued phases of stress has numerous disadvantages, small amount of occasional stress can actually be helpful in reflecting on our lifestyle choices, so that we can opt for healthier options.

Beating down stress with motivation is easier said than done. To tread on this path, you need to toil on yourself. Begin with taking small measures like meditating for half an hour, performing relaxing yoga moves or taking a walk early morning.

You can also reduce the intensity of stress in your life by engaging into healthy activities. Eating organic, home-cooked food will not improve your overall health, but will also increase your ability to think logically when in stress. Spending an hour exercising and having a full night’s quality sleep can help improve your immunity against anxiety and stress.

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