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Brain Health and Stress

Stress is a given. Everyone faces stress. It is not the stress that impacts our brain health, however, it is how we handle the stress that affects us. Cortisol is our stress hormone. When we are under stress of any kind (whether psychological or physical) this hormone rises to assist us through the stressful times. However, if our stress becomes prolonged and our cortisol remains elevated for extended periods of time, we may experience emotional and cognitive changes. These changes could include difficulty sleeping, difficulty thinking and remembering, increased weight around the waist, and insulin resistance. Increased cortisol is beneficial for our brain and health short term making us more hyper-vigilant. However, prolonged elevated cortisol could result in decreased cortisol production to protect our neurons (brain cells). Reduced production may end up causing severe fatigue and emotional fragility, higher susceptibility to inflammation, and decreased thyroid function.

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