Stress is a normal, unavoidable part of life. You can best think of it as the body’s response to pressure brought on by a variety of reasons– an important upcoming event, a change in your life situation, or perhaps an unexpected interpersonal hiccup. When you experience something unexpected or new, it is difficult to feel like you have any control over the situation. Feeling helpless and powerless can be…well, stressful.
Everyone experiences stress, and people choose coping skills to handle their stressors. When you’re considering how to handle high pressure situations, you should keep in mind the relationship between your brain and your stress levels. Managing your stress in healthy ways can actually improve your brain wellness, too.
How Does Stress Affect Brain Wellness?
Simply put, chronic stress can cause damage to your brain. At its most basic level, stress disrupts synapse regulation through a chain reaction. Think of it this way:
- A stressful event occurs.
- The amygdala (responsible for emotional processing) signals to the hypothalamus (command center) that it is stressed.
- The hypothalamus sounds the alarm within the rest of the body.
- The body responds to this alarm by shifting into “fight or flight.”
- “Fight or flight” causes a faster heart rate, a rush of adrenaline, more oxygen intake and other stress-induced physical reactions.
- The brain releases a hormone called cortisol to help restore energy that was lost during the mind and body’s response to the stressful event.
- After the brain determines it is safe (i.e., the stressor is gone), cortisol levels return to normal and the body discontinues its reactions.
This process repeats for any occurrence your brain deems stressful. When the brain experiences trauma, the brain’s stress response is harder to regulate, so this process may happen far more than necessary and, in some cases, continuously.
Using Brain Health Supplements for Stress Treatment
Stress induces a variety of side effects on the brain. If you’re experiencing any of these mental changes due to stress, there are brain health supplements you can use for treatment. The effects of stress do not have to be long lasting, and you can start reversing them with the right brain and memory power boost supplements.
Chronic stress is linked with impaired memory, and those with higher stress levels tend to be more forgetful. Essentially, the brain is not using all of its resources since it is in “survival” mode rather than memory mode.
Supplements: fish oil, omega-3s, acetyl-L-carnitine
Decreased Brain Cells
As stress levels continue in the brain, the brain’s hippocampus has a harder time producing viable new neurons. In fact, neurons produced during periods of high stress are more likely to die within just a week’s time.
Supplements: resveratrol, omega-3s, fish oil
Higher Susceptibility to Mental Illness
Stress can throw the brain’s gray and white matter into an imbalance, which interferes with the myelin and hippocampus. The myelin is responsible for cell communication, and the hippocampus regulates memory. Such imbalances may increase your risk for anxiety and depression.
Supplements: vitamin D, vitamin B complex, magnesium, omega-3s, L-theanine
Brain Wellness Supplements for Stress Prevention
Whether you are currently dealing with stress or are trying to stay ahead of it, you can improve your brain wellness by finding the best brain health supplements for you. Take the time to understand how your body and mind react to stress. Do you feel forgetful? Anxious? Make a list of your symptoms and use it to find the brain and memory power boost supplements that will help the most. If you need extra guidance, we can always be contacted at 615-933-5188.