Protect Your Brain from Future Trauma
We can’t anticipate when a life-shattering event--the loss of a job, a home, a spouse--is going to happen. But there may be one thing that we can do to protect ourselves (or at least our brains) from its effect: lower our stress levels now
. A study published last week in the journal Biological Psychiatry
examined how the brains of healthy people are affected by stress, and discovered that it can reduce gray matter (a post on Time.com matches up the type of stress--recent, chronic, everyday--with regions of the brain and the functions they control
). The Yale researchers found that while ordinary, everyday stress (juggling family and work, meeting deadlines, organizing) appeared to have the smallest effects on its own, this type of stress can erode parts of of the brain gradually and almost imperceptibly--and make it more difficult to deal with tough events in the future. As one researcher explained, "The effects of stress can have a negative impact on both our physical and mental health.”
The good news is that the study authors stressed the brain is "plastic" and can snap back from the small changes. The goal should be controlling stress in the present to keep the brain supple and prepared for the future. Here are 7 simple suggestions of how to do this from Dr. Oz
(and surprisingly, none involve yoga).More advice on managing stress:The Benefits of FriendshipIs the Way You Breathe Bad for Your Health?
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.