These days, we all live under considerable stress — economic challenges, job demands, family tensions, always-on technology and the 24-hour news cycle all contribute to ceaseless worry. While many have learned to simply “live with it,” this ongoing stress can, unless properly managed, have a serious negative impact on our ability to think clearly and make good decisions, in the short-term, and even harm our brains in the long-term.
Recent studies show that chronic stress can also lead to depression, and even to a higher risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. Why? Under stress, the brain’s limbic system — responsible for emotions, memory and learning — triggers an alarm that activates the fight-or-flight response, increasing the production of adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol, which work together to speed heart rate, increase metabolism and blood pressure, enhance attention, the immune system and anti-inflammatory response, and lower pain sensitivity — all good things when your very survival is on the line. When the stressful situation is over, the body resets back to normal.
However, under constant stress, the body is unable to reset. High adrenaline and cortisol levels persist, potentially causing blood sugar imbalances and blood pressure problems, and whittling away at muscle tissue, bone density, immunity and inflammatory responses. These events block the formation of new neural connections in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for encoding new memories. When these new connections are blocked, the hippocampus can actually shrink in size, hindering memory. Continue reading.
Originally posted on Sharp Brains.
Did you ever have it all mixed up?
Happiness, I mean. I once thought that a university degree and good grades would make me happy. I thought that traveling the world would leave me feeling fulfilled. I thought that moving abroad and getting that top-notch job would make me satisfied and content.
They all did, but only for a while. They always came with an expiration date.
Finally, I had to stop and ask myself, “If I’m not able to be truly happy now, will I ever be?” If I couldn’t appreciate everything I already had in my life, would more really be the answer?
Then I thought, “If happiness is what I want, why not take a shortcut and go there directly?”
So, I did. I stopped putting it on hold. I stopped allowing external circumstances to dictate how I felt. And I stopped relying on illusionary destinations of promised happiness and bliss.
What I realized is that happiness doesn’t happen by chance–it happens by choice. It’s a skill that anyone can develop with the right habits. Continue reading.
Originally posted on Tiny Buddha.
Young people are experiencing depression, anxiety, and sleep deprivation because they feel a constant need to be on social media sites 24/7, according to new research.
Professors from the University of Glasgow questioned over 460 respondents aged between 11 and 17 regarding their overall – but specifically night-time – social media use, and also measured sleep quality, self-esteem, and emotional investment in the sites.
Results showed how a constant need to make themselves available online was making teens feel tired, down, and anxious as they struggled to keep in-the-loop with what was happening on the Internet.
One of the researchers, Dr Heather Cleland Woods, described how adolescence can be a period of increased vulnerability for the onset of depression and anxiety, with poor sleep quality contributing to this. Continue reading.
Originally posted on The Independent.
All postings on the NEWS page are made purely for information and interest. I do not endorse or denounce any of them but find them all very interesting. I leave it up to you to decide if what you read will work for you.