Stress, Memory, and the Brain

Hello my dear friend,

Mental health is on the forefront of many of our brains. Whether we are the ones experiencing a challenge or we are supporting someone who is, I feel like it is affecting all of us. This particular article found its way into my email this week and I think the timing is perfect. It is an article written by Barbara Christain and I will paraphrase her wonderful information.

Recently, I’ve heard from several of you desiring help with your memory, brain fog, and other mental concerns. Are you aware that a common characteristic of stress is forgetfulness, disorientation, and a decline in cognitive health? Stress also affects our ability to process information. It gets even better. There is a correlation between stress, emotional states, and inflammation. So chronic stress can lead to health problems and heart disease.

When we are under a lot of stress, we tend to go into survival mode. If you know brain anatomy, it is the amygdala that takes over here. When you are in survival mode, you become more forgetful; reasoning and thought processes take a back seat.

So, what can we do to help ourselves?

Take a moment and just breathe! Square breathing is a great technique. Here is a quick review. Inhale-hold-exhale-hold and repeat. Each part of the square is equal, so each part of this process is equal in the amount of time you allow. If I am really ramped up, I will do each section in a 3-second interval. As I calm down, I will increase the interval as I am comfortable. It also engages my brain in counting so I stop stressing about whatever I was focusing on.
If you want to take this a step further, meditate. Find what source of meditation works best for you. There are several apps to assist, or you may create your own way.
And… add good ol’ exercise. Move your body. Find the way and the kind of exercise that you enjoy so you will keep it up!

My heart goes out to all of you who are suffering with more than just stress and are in need of professional support. I hope you are able to receive the help you desire.
Here is a hug, and some hope that you and I can find joy and beauty in something each day.

Much love and gratitude! Janalee

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