We all have to deal with stress and we all have different coping mechanisms when it comes to stress. There are two kinds of stress that is faced by us which includes acute stress and chronic stress. Both are different from one another. When it comes to acute stress it is basically a survival technique which protects us from different dangers. It is simply the reaction we have to the immediate threat and is more commonly known as the “fight or flight” response. But when it comes to chronic stress it is the kind of stress we tend to feel on a daily basis and it overwhelms us for the most part and it drastically affects both our mental and physical health.
Some of the more common symptoms when it comes to stress is irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia etc. It can make our digestive system weak and make our immune system vulnerable to many diseases which can include anything from common cold to cancer.
Vicious Impact Of Stress On Our Lives
As much as acute stress actually helps us to survive when we are in a dangerous situation, chronic stress can actually have quite the opposite effect on our body and mind.
- Levels of cortisol increases: The stress hormone cortisol level increases when we suffer from chronic stress. This may lead to the creation of holes in the cell walls of our brain. Due to this factor it can make you even more susceptible to bad habits and adapting unhealthy behaviour.
- Makes your forget things easily: One of the things that occur due to chronic stress is the fact that you tend to forget things quite easily. This is because the electrical signals that are linked to factual memories in the brain weaken which is why we tend to become more forgetful when we suffer from chronic stress. However, the areas of the brain that deal with emotions they tend to strengthen.
- Fear and anxiety: when we suffer from a constant amount of stress the amygdala seems to form inside the brain which is known as the fear centre. Therefore due to chronic stress we can suffer from a constant cycle of anxiety and fear.
- Stops the production of new brain cells: When there is an excessive amount of cortisol level in your brain it actually halts the production of BDNF or brain derived neurotrophic factor. BDNF is actually the protein which is responsible in making new brain cells and also keeping the brain cells healthy.
- Depletes the critical chemicals in the brain: Chronic stress can result in a reduction of the levels of serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals that are produced in the brain are known as neurotransmitters. When there is a constant depletion of these chemicals in the brain we tend to become more depressed and we try to combat that depression through different sort of addictions.
- Prone to mental illness: Research says that when our brain is constantly under stress it can make us more prone to mental illnesses. All these can include bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, alcoholism and drug addiction.
- Shrinks your brain: When our brain produces cortisol it is actually responsible in stopping the production of neurons in the hippocampus part of our brain. This part is where all the memory is actually stored in the brain. Due to this factor it can affect the making of decisions, working of our memory and even trigger impulsive behaviour.
- Toxins: The blood brain barrier actually protects the brain from harmful substances. Chronic stress makes you vulnerable to chemicals and other sort of toxins that an unstressed brain can usually combat against.
- Risk of dementia and Alzheimer: While there are ways to prevent Alzheimer’s there is no particular theory or a bullet point which can completely keep it at bay. When we suffer from a constant level of chronic stress it actually accelerates the progression of dementia and Alzheimer.
- Premature aging of brain cells: Stress leads to the premature aging of the brain cells. This actually puts you at risk for more diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and even cancer.