How stress affects your brain – Madhumita Murgia

How stress affects your brain – Madhumita Murgia


Are you sleeping restlessly, feeling irritable or moody, forgetting little things, and feeling overwhelmed and isolated? Don’t worry. We’ve all been there. You’re probably just stressed out. Stress isn’t always a bad thing. It can be handy for a burst of extra
energy and focus, like when you’re playing
a competitive sport, or have to speak in public. But when its continuous, the kind most of us face day in
and day out, it actually begins to change your brain. Chronic stress, like being overworked
or having arguments at home, can affect brain size, its structure, and how it functions, right down to the level of your genes. Stress begins with something called the hypothalamus pituitary
adrenal axis, a series of interactions between endocrine glands in the brain
and on the kidney, which controls
your body’s reaction to stress. When your brain detects
a stressful situation, your HPA axis is instantly activated and releases a hormone called cortisol,
which primes your body for instant action. But high levels of cortisol
over long periods of time wreak havoc on your brain. For example, chronic stress increases
the activity level and number of neural connections
in the amygdala, your brain’s fear center. And as levels of cortisol rise, electric signals in your hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with
learning, memories, and stress control, deteriorate. The hippocampus also inhibits
the activity of the HPA axis, so when it weakens, so does your ability
to control your stress. That’s not all, though. Cortisol can literally cause your brain
to shrink in size. Too much of it results in the loss
of synaptic connections between neurons and the shrinking
of your prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain the regulates
behaviors like concentration, decision-making, judgement, and social interaction. It also leads to fewer new brain cells
being made in the hippocampus. This means chronic stress
might make it harder for you to learn and remember things, and also set the stage for more serious
mental problems, like depression
and eventually Alzheimer’s disease. The effects of stress may filter
right down to your brain’s DNA. An experiment showed that the amount of nurturing
a mother rat provides its newborn baby plays a part in determining how that baby
responds to stress later in life. The pups of nurturing moms turned out
less sensitive to stress because their brains developed
more cortisol receptors, which stick to cortisol
and dampen the stress response. The pups of negligent moms
had the opposite outcome, and so became more sensitive to stress
throughout life. These are considered epigenetic changes, meaning that they effect
which genes are expressed without directly changing
the genetic code. And these changes can be reversed
if the moms are swapped. But there’s a surprising result. The epigenetic changes caused by
one single mother rat were passed down to many generations
of rats after her. In other words, the results
of these actions were inheritable. It’s not all bad news, though. There are many ways to reverse
what cortisol does to your stressed brain. The most powerful weapons are exercise
and meditation, which involves breathing deeply and being aware
and focused on your surroundings. Both of these activities
decrease your stress and increase the size of the hippocampus, thereby improving your memory. So don’t feel defeated
by the pressures of daily life. Get in control of your stress
before it takes control of you.

52 comments

  1. this stressed me out for minutes. thank you for the ending that guaranteed solutions to this stressful warnings. lol

  2. I want to show this video to my father to make him understand how his toxic brhaviour is making me stressed but He will give me more stress about it. Ironical!

  3. Perception is so powerful .just how much of our reality is dominated by our soul is amazing .we all could have our soul in one demension while our physical is here in this demension. how your soul is determines how we physically veiw things .it doesnt help to know your over reacting either .the feelings rule over everything else.

  4. depression hypertension stress anxiety are quite alien back in 90s and peoples back then were more relaxed as they were unaware of such terms ..sometimes awareness can be harmful

  5. When spineless neighbours help junkies steal your motorcycle it is stressful. Only a sound flogging to all involved will ease stress.

  6. Exactly. School does provide many people with a lot of stress. Not all of us are great at studying even when we try. Just count it:
    •homework
    •projects
    •tests
    •possible bullying
    And more.
    The better education system would be us having less to do. So those who know what they want, can pick what they want to learn the most. It would bring more joy. Less stress.

  7. So try to understand that when someone isn't progressing as it should be..He would be stressed and damn don't judge him🙏

  8. Anybody in denial of stress? I'm exhausted and feel isolated. When I get off from work all I do is lay down listen to music and fantasizing. I eat very little too.. but I'm bubbly as ever around others. I hate the idea of other people see how helpless I'm currently..

  9. I remember it very well grade 4 was the year when it all began it’s when i started to be anxious and stressed out because we started taking exams and it continued and continued until I graduated from collage now even the smallest and dumbest problem can stress me out

  10. Çevirmenler ve bu kanal için teşekkürler. Daha önce hiç bu kadar yararlı kanal görmemiştim. ❤️
    Thanks for translators and this channel .I've never seen such a useful channel before.❤️

  11. Hoping to be of help so you are always comfortable and cozy being you. Took me way way way to long to do that for me- YOU DESERVE TO BE APPRECIATED

  12. As someone who suffered extreme anxiety and chronic stress often to the point of being physically sick for 2 years this video made a lot sense. Although there hasn’t been human trials, the study about the effect of neglect at infancy rings true to me so I’m glad it was included in the video

  13. I wish my mum could speak english. That's what she did to me and my work does that to me too. But the work doesn't care if I would show them.

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