What Is Stress Doing To Your Brain?
Never before have business owners and executives been given the wonderful opportunities that modern technology brings to grow our business and be able to reach customers and businesses globally. We have so much information available to us from our mobile phones and laptops constantly and Google can answer any of our queries in an instant, which is great if we need information urgently.
But at the same time, this technology may inadvertently cause a few unforeseen problems when it comes to our brain health. Having greater efficiency in our business and workload with the use of technology, can bring on many changes and result in an increase in sales and business. If we can do things quicker, then our workload also increases, which may result in overwhelm, overload and in particular, stress.
A simple example
How many emails are you receiving daily and how many you do you have to reply to every day? Even though it may be a faster way of communicating, it is also time consuming, as we have to read through, then understand what the issue is, then think about a solution, and then type your reply to
But then, just when you are in the middle of your reply to a complex issue, the phone rings. This interruption immediately pulls your concentration away from your reply to a totally different matter. You deal with that phone call providing a suitable solution, and then you have to get back to your half-written reply email. Now where were you up to? This may happen not once but countless times during the day.
Your thinking has been split into many different directions constantly throughout the day. When this happens, your focus and concentration is affected. This also slows down your productivity and then you either have to work faster or work back to complete tasks by the deadline. This results in overwhelm, overload and stress.
The effects of constant stress
If you are under constant stress, you may experience symptoms like memory problems, loss of concentration, headaches, fatigue, difficulty sleeping or recurrent nightmares, irritability, backaches or rapid heartbeat.
What is stress?
It is important to understand what stress actually is. Stress is your body’s physical reaction to change and involves the “fight or flight” response activated by your autonomic nervous system. This controls and stimulates the production of two hormones, Cortisol and Adrenaline. These hormones make your heart beat faster, elevate your blood pressure, change your digestive processes and boost your glucose levels in the blood stream to give you the energy needed to “fight or flight”. When the possible threat has passed, your body system slowly returns back to normal.
How does Stress affect your Brain?
When we are stressed and produce the stress hormone Cortisol, thousands of neurons (brain cells) can die off. When we are highly stressed, we seem to think less clearly and tend to forget even simple things.
Excess Cortisol causes a decline in the daily function of your brain and robs your brain of Glucose, which is its only source of fuel. It also affects your brain’s chemical messengers – your Neurotransmitters – which carry your thoughts from one brain cell to the next. When your neurotransmitter function is disrupted and when your brain’s fuel supply plummets, it’s difficult for you to concentrate and remember things.
Many scientists now believe that too much exposure to stress can actually shrink your brain.
What can you do?
Here are some solutions to reduce your stress levels :
- Check your emails three times daily, first thing in the morning, midday and late afternoon. This way you will be more efficient with your time and be able to achieve other tasks besides handling emails all day long.
- Concentrate on one task at a time without any interruptions like phone calls. Have your staff take messages so that you can focus on the task at hand. You will be more efficient in completing the task as you will have better focus and concentration. Also the feeling of completion will give you peace of mind.
- Take 5 minutes off from your workload every hour. That 5 minutes will give your brain time to recharge and focus better.
- Exercise like walking is excellent for reducing stress levels. Go for a walk in your lunch break, it will boost your mood, improve your memory and you will feel energised as well.
- Meditation and yoga are also both excellent to reduce stress and improve your memory.
- Getting at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night will also help reduce your stress levels.
- Eat a healthy range of food, eg, organic vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds.
- Stay away from highly processed food and take away fried foods.
A 5 Step Guide for your brain health
From my research, I have found that there are many causes of memory problems, and stress is one of the major causes. There are many beneficial things that you can do to improve your memory and brain health and these can be found in my international award winning book, “Smart Brain Healthy Brain”.
If you are interested in improving your memory and keeping your brain sharp to make smart business decisions, the Smart Brain Prevention Program will be able to help you.