Have you ever felt so stressed out and overwhelmed that you can’t think straight?
We now know that prolonged stress or trauma is associated with decreased volume in areas of the human brain responsible for regulating thoughts and feelings, enhancing self-control, and creating new memories.
A new research study, published in an issue of Nature Medicine, is a first step in uncovering the genetic mechanism underlying these brain changes.
Major Life Stress Damages the Prefrontal Cortex
In addition to hippocampal shrinkage, major life stress may shrink brain neurons in the Prefrontal Cortex (PFC), the brain area responsible for problem-solving, adaptation to challenge, emotional processing and regulation, impulse control, and regulation of glucose and insulin metabolism.
In a study of 100 healthy participants conducted by Dr Rajita Sinha and colleagues at Yale University, and published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, those with more adverse life events had greater shrinkage of grey matter in the PFC, compared to their less-stressed peers. Recent major life events, such as a job loss, make people less emotionally aware while life traumas, such as sexual abuse, seem to go further, in damaging mood centers that regulate pleasure and reward, increasing vulnerability to addiction and decreasing the brain’s ability to bounce back.
Depressed brains appeared to have more limited and fragmented information processing abilities.
Prolonged exposure to stress can shrink the brain, both via the damaging effects of cortisol on brain neurons, and by disrupting expression of genes that facilitate neuronal connections.
This raises the question of whether there is anything we can do to prevent such damage!
Since we can’t always control how much we are exposed to financial, relationship, or illness stress, are there preventive activities we can do to maintain cognitive resilience so we can continue to deal effectively with the stressors?
We can lessen and reverse the damage by these methods, and make our brains more resilient to stress.
Stay active and take regular exercise.
Take long walk, 30-60 minutes a day.
Do Yoga and Pranayam. Some of the Yoga postures and Pranayam exercises help in keeping your Dosha balanced.
Meditate and Pray.
Ayurveda Panchkarma therapies reduce stress and bring your body back to balance.
Ayurvedic 7 days Marma massage(Abhyanga) and Shirodhara for 7 days are best in fighting off stress .These are natural and have no side effects and definitely not addictive.
Detox your body with Ayurvedic detox Panchakarma therapies on a regular basis. Once a year detox keeps you on a positive frame of mind.
Learn to recognize your body’s signals. If you start feeling a little foggy, unable to have a deep sleep, getting tired for no particular reason, it is time to go for Panchakarma .
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