Stress and Brains – How Does Stress Affect the Brain?

Stress and BrainsStress and Brains. How does stress affect the brain?  What can you do about it?

Stress is everywhere and these days it is harder and harder to deal with stress and anxiety. Sometimes it seems you are losing your mind, it happened to me today. It was both stress and anxiety together and I let it go to my head. I didn’t stop at right time, I was kind of freaking out.

Everybody was asking something from me, my family, and my work. The thing was that nothing was going my way at that moment, my heart was racing and I became really angry.

Looking now at that situation, it seems I was truly losing my mind. But I stopped, I calmed down, but it could have gone a different way and for me, it seems scary now. Stress is the silent killer and that is a terrible and true concept to think about.

Stress and Brain. How stress impacts your brain?

How does stress affect the brain? Stress can impact your brain in more ways than one and it is important to understand how stress impacts your brain and what to do to avoid it or become better after experiencing stress.

Of course, stress impacts the brain, there is no question about it. Stress impacts everything in your body and brain, sadly, is not something to be excluded.

1. Stress Kills Brain Cells and Shrinks the Brain

Stress and BrainsSome studies show that a single stressful event can kill new neurons in the brain.

One study researched rats and stress’s effect on their brain. Stressed rats generated the same number of new neurons as rats who didn’t experience stress. 

However, in one week’s time, there was a reduction in the nerve cells. Stress may doesn’t have an influence on the formation of new neurons, but it impacts whether those new cells survive.

There are some studies done about how stress impacts the brain and shrinks it. Scientists used new high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and proved that stress can shrink crucial parts of the brain. However, there is a need for more studies to prove this.

2. Impacts Memory

Stress and BrainsStress impacts your memory and if you think about some stressful event in the past, it is hard to remember the details. Right?

Even minor stress impacts your memory, for example, you could be struggling to remember where you put your keys. Pretty often I misplace my keys even if it is nothing to do with stress. 🙂

But imagine if you are feeling really stressed, you can forget where you put your stuff and your keys included. When you experience stress, you are not feeling like your usual self and forget some things that you would not forget otherwise.

Stress and Brains

A 2014 study shows that there is a connection between stress hormones and short-term memory loss. It is related to older adults.

High levels of cortisol can lead to memory lapses as we age and that is why it is important to manage our stress and make sure we are not stressing too much.

Interestingly, short-time stress can help with memory and enhance it if you get stressed before learning for an exam or test.

3. Increases Mental Illness

There is even a study that shows that chronic stress can result in long-term changes in the brain. These changes in the brain could also later impact anxiety disorders, mood, and overall well-being.

Stress and BrainsChronic stress may impact your mental health even more because it can also help in developing depression and other emotional disorders. That would not be a surprise if you ask me and studies and people’s experience proves it.

Nervous System and Brain

Scientists have been investigating the effects that stress has on the nervous system for 50 years. There are even studies that show that stress causes structural changes in the brain and in that way impacts your nervous system.

The problem, of course, is chronic stress, because there is also positive stress that helps us to be more productive, face challenges, and also survive if the need arises.

What to Do? How to Reduce Stress and Avoid Chronic Stress?

Now we know how much chronic stress impacts our brain and that also means our well-being so it is very important to make sure you reduce your stress and avoid long time stress. Chronic stress is the one that impacts the brain because short-time stress can be a positive thing.

Stress and BrainsBut long time stress, chronic stress is what usually causes problems for us and our health. Here you can find some tips on how to help you with chronic stress problems:

  • Eat healthily – a lot of vitamins and minerals support your health
  • Take supplements if you need more vitamins and minerals
  • Do what you enjoy (find some hobby, paint, do writing)
  • Find time for yourself and take a vacation
  • Meditate
  • Exercise and go for walks
  • Talk and spend time with people that are closest to you
  • Etc

There are many other ways that can help you to reduce stress and it is up to you what helps you in that regard because we all are different. What helps me, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will help you to relieve stress.


Stress and BrainsToday we talked about stress and the brain. How stress really impacts our brain? What can we do about it?  Do you feel how stress impacts your brain? How does that make you feel? 

Stress is everywhere and impacts your body and, of course, the brain. It can impact your memory and nervous system, shrink the brain mass, and even cause mental health issues later in life like anxiety disorders and even depression. 

There are ways to reduce stress such as eating healthy, doing what you enjoy, taking time for yourself and talking with your loved ones., etc. 

If you wanna know more about how stress impacts your health, CLICK HERE and read it.

If you wanna know more about how you can help yourself to reduce stress and avoid stress negative impact on your brain, READ this blog

How does stress affect the brain? What are you thinking about this article? Did you ever experience how stress impacts the brain and can recall that moment and what triggered it? What are the best stress relief tips that make you calm and that way help your brain? Let me know! Please answer and write in the comment selection below! 


Have a nice day! See you soon

Linda Mo

Founder and owner of How To Reduce Stress Naturally

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