Stress Effects on Brain
Stress and Heart
Get ready for the best!

We live in a world of stress.

Constant stress increases the risk of hypertension (1), heart attacks (2), in fact, all chronic diseases are somehow related to stress.

The causes of stress are wide and varied – economic inequality, poverty, social injustice, oppression, lack of educational opportunities, gender inequality.

Why do we have to worry about stress?

Stress is not only distant terrorists, but also something that affects us every day: traffic jams on the way to work, unexpected calls and emails, fear of the future, etc.

Stress per se cannot be considered harmful in itself. It is necessary to increase vitality, scientists say.

However, frequent stressful situations and various negative emotional events disrupt the normal activity of the cerebral cortex (3) and centers of the hypothalamic region(4).

The weakening of the cerebral cortex control leads to a significant increase in the excitability of the vasomotor center and, consequently, to a decrease of vascular tone.

Stress Effects on Brain

Stress Effects on Brain

The brain is a kind of interface that runs our communication with the world.

Certain parts of the brain are responsible for the knowledge or feelings that create our reality.

What happens during stress?

The cognitive part of the brain is isolated and does not perform its function.

Therefore, you focus on the immediate problem and miss the whole picture.

Stress is a source of antisocial and violent behavior because a person does not realize the consequences of his actions.

If a person is in a state of constant stress, his prefrontal cortex and memory center become smaller, while the amygdala is always tense, as if you live your whole life in the middle of a burning field.

Human behavior is connected to the brain.

Thus, in a state of excitement and stress, the amygdala part of the brain “raises the alarm.”

At this time, a person perceives everything as a threat, even friendly gestures and intentions.

In a state of excitement, our perception of the world is changing, our ability to think rationally is practically turned off, and the amygdala puts our brain into the “fight or flight” mode, and our body is preparing for it.

Thus, stress causes brain damage and adversely affects its function.

Under stress, the prefrontal cortex ceases to function normally.

At the same time, the prefrontal cortex is one of the most important parts of the brain that is responsible for higher functions, such as compassion, decision making, judgment, the ability to think before acting and to control our actions.

Under stress, the higher parts of the brain do not work, and the blood flows to its “primitive” sections responsible for instinctive and reflexive behavior.

Scientists have studied the brain of prisoners and found that the blood flow in the brain of people who have committed serious crimes is concentrated mainly in these “primitive” parts of the brain.

And under stress, the same thing happens in every person’s brain.

Stress and Heart

Stress and Heart

Medical studies conducted in different parts of the world show: stress can also provoke a number of cardiac diseases, as well as worsen the course of existing ones.

The European Football Championship in 1996 (5), the Danish national team plays and loses.

In the next few days, the death rate from heart attack in the country increases 14 times. 1998, the England team loses to Argentina in a penalty shootout.

The next day, the number of hospitalizations with heart attack increased by a quarter.

In both cases, predominantly men were admitted to the hospital.

For women, the fact that their team lost was not such an upsetting event.

Cardiologists like to give these examples to demonstrate that strong emotional experiences have a very negative effect on the body.

At the same time, doctors also note: of course, a heart attack does not occur out of the blue, the cardiovascular system in victims has already worked with malfunctions.

But, if not for stress, the body might have compensated for them for a long time.

In a stressful situation, adrenaline and cortisol hormones are released into the blood.

This leads to an increase in blood pressure.

If a person is healthy, nothing will happen: when the stressful effect ceases, the blood pressure will return to normal.

If there are health problems in the body, stress can be fatal.

According to doctors, not only excessive emotional events are harmful, but also less strong, but frequent experiences.

If the blood pressure rises regularly, it can eventually lead to hypertension.

Can you get a brain aneurysm from stress?

Yes, because stress activates inflammation processes (6), which can lead to damage to the vascular walls and the development of atherosclerosis (7) and cause a more pronounced thrombosis (8).

All this, along with high blood pressure, can cause aneurysm.

Together, all the above can cause an accelerated development of heart diseases.

Also, people who are exposed to regular stress, smoke more and abuse alcohol more often, and these are the main enemies of the heart.

Get ready for the best!

Get ready for the best!

In the last one hundred years, we began to live faster and more intensely, the information flow has increased, pressuring a person every day.

All this negatively affects both mental and physical health.

We cannot hide from stressful situations, they are part of our lives.

Does it mean that everyone is guaranteed to have heart problems and decreased brain functioning?

Of course not.

A lot depends on how we deal with stress.

To successfully deal with it, it is enough to follow a number of rules.
Get more active.

Exercise helps to quickly release adrenaline and cortisol hormones from the body.

Regular exercise allows you to relieve stress, and at the same time improve heart function.

During exercise, the production of serotonin and norepinephrine increases – substances responsible for positive emotions.

That is why after fitness, we feel tired, but happy.

No opportunity to go to the gym?

Just move more.

Try not to use the elevator, park your car or leave the bus a couple blocks further.

Learn to relax.

Any technique is good for this – from deep breathing to meditation.

A study conducted at the University of Montreal showed that regular meditative practice increases serotonin levels in our brain, which plays a key role in the transmission of neuro pulses from one part of the brain to another.

Scientists have found that during meditation, the supply of brain cells with chemicals necessary for the production of serotonin is improved.

It stimulates the natural production of serotonin by our brain.

Meditation forms favorable conditions for creating a good chemical environment conducive to the production of new brain cells, and this makes us happier and healthier people.

The production of the cortisol hormone, on the other hand, is boosted when we are under stress or anxiety.

Elevated levels of cortisol for a long time have a destructive effect on the cells of our brain and block the production of other, beneficial hormones.

Scientists have found that people engaged in meditation for just two weeks, the level of cortisol decreased by almost 50%.

Find a hobby.

A person who is passionate about something, reacts less painfully to everyday problems and does not give them too much importance.

Read books and watch movies that inspire.

Communicate more with positive people.

Learn to manage time.

Time management helps to solve problems in time, and thus prevent stressful situations.

How to learn to do everything?

Get a planner and plan everything, from business meetings to time for yourself

Maintain order and try to make sure that each thing has its own place.

Limit time consuming tasks – minimize unnecessary talking on the phone, do not “hang out” on social networks.

Finally, combine several tasks at once: on your way home, listen to audiobooks or practice your speech for the meeting while preparing dinner.

Healthy diet.

Eat properly, so your body can function normally.

Your menu should be balanced and varied.

Vegetables, fruits, dairy products, grains, meat, fish, vegetable oils, nuts, dried fruits – all these food groups should be in your meals every day.

Try to eat smaller portion and more often (5-6 times a day).

If it is impossible to have a meal this often, set yourself a minimum of at least three meals a day.

Do not skip breakfast, lunch or dinner: our body needs a steady flow of energy.

And limit the consumption of coffee and alcohol – instead of helping, they only interfere with the fight against stress.
Get enough sleep.

During a night’s sleep, the hormone melatonin is produced, which is necessary for the normal flow of metabolic processes in our body, and the brain organizes the information obtained during the day.

That is why it is so important to allow yourself to get enough sleep, and not try to overcome the fatigue with coffee.

Sleep makes the body stronger and nervous system more stable, so it adequately responds to stress.


Be sure to consult your doctor if due to stress, you have insomnia for several days in a row, a headache, blood pressure “jumps” regularly, and your heartrate increases often.

In such situations, it is not always possible to cope on your own; medication may be required.

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