Dealing with College Pressures: The Effects Of Stress And How To Manage It


While stress is always a part of school, work, with deadlines and responsibilities, too much of it can pose serious problems not only to your mental health but to your physical health as well. According to Reader's Digest, there are scary things that happen to our brains when stress gets out of control.

Chronic stress can have a negative impact on your learning and memory. It causes neural stem cells in the hippocampus to become oligodendrocytes, which coat neurons with myelin. An excess of this insulating material results to disruptions in the communication with the brain.

High levels of stress can also result to an increased risk of stroke and depression. Moreover, anxiety has been found to actually cause the reduction of the brain. "The accumulation of stressful life events may make it more challenging for these individuals to deal with future stress," Emily Ansell, assistant professor of psychiatry and study author, said.

The publication shared four tips on how to manage stress. First, it is important to know that the effects can still be repaired. The brain can recover from the loss of neurons.

"Generally speaking, the brain, and especially the hippocampus, has a substantial degree of plasticity, meaning that the brain is quite malleable," Sundari Chetty, PhD, Stanford School of Medicine faculty member in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, said.

Second, physical exercise has the potential to prevent or reduce elevations in stress hormones. Even something as simple as brisk walking 30 minutes a day can help improve one's mood and lower stress.

Third, meditate. A study conducted last 2014 revealed that adults aged 18 to 30 had less anxiety during stress-provoking tasks after participating in a mindfulness meditation training program for 25 minutes, three days in a row.

Lastly, make sure to get enough sleep. "Sleep is very important in controlling levels of stress hormones," Cherry added. "Sleep deprivation elevates stress hormones and can have negative impacts on the brain, including the hippocampus."

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