Stress and the Brain—Part II

social3In our post on March 16 (“Stress and the Brain—Part I”), we talked about how long-term stress can negatively impact our brains. Modern life with its 24/7 news cycle, job and economic worries and our always-on devices can make us feel like we are constantly under stress. By the time we reach 45 to 50, the nerve cells in our brains are weak from exhaustion and fatigue. That leaves us susceptible to anxiety, depression and greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

We may not always be able to change the situations causing the stress, but there are some things we can do to manage stress and master our emotions. The following tips can help you feel and perform better every day, while protecting your brain from the damaging effects of long-term stress:

Exercise—Aerobic exercise helps build new neurons and connections in the brain to counteract the effects of stress. Regular exercise produces endorphins that promote good sleep, reduce depression and boost self-confidence.

Relax—Whether it’s yoga, meditation or a walk on the beach, relaxation helps to quiet the mind, make us feel more at ease and even improve cognitive function. When we relax, the body responds with a lower blood pressure, respiration rate, metabolism an muscle tension.

Socialize—It’s not unusual when we feel stressed to let personal connections and social opportunities fall by the wayside. But that’s when we need them the most. Spend some quality time with friends, family and even pets to combat stress.

Take charge—Studies show a direct correlation between feelings of psychological empowerment and stress resiliency. Feeling in control can help reduce chronic stress and give you the confidence to take control over your brain health.

Keep a sense of humor—Laughter can reduce stress and lower the high cortisol and adrenaline levels that accompany stress. Just thinking about something funny can have a positive effect on reducing stress and the damage it causes to your brain.

Think positively—Simply changing the way you look at certain situations, taking stock of the positive things in your life and learning to live with gratitude can improve your ability to manage stress and build brain resilience.

Source: SharpBrains, “Six tips to build resilience and prevent brain-damaging stress.”


Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping students of all ages improve study, reading, math and cognitive skills. Our customized brain fitness programs take brain performance to new levels by strengthening nerve cells and improving cognitive skills and concentration. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at:


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