The negative impact of unrelenting stress is on the rise, especially now. Even before the current crisis, the ongoing strain of everyday life was causing detrimental consequences on society’s overall physical and mental health. (source)
In this post, I will discuss how stress impacts the brain and body and offer lifestyle practices to reverse them.
The Physical and Mental Downfalls of a Stressed-Out Brain
Various studies have shown that stress causes functional changes on the brain. Stress can enlarge the “fight or flight” area in the brain (the amygdala) and shrink the memory center (the hippocampus). (source, source) This can lead to cognitive deficits, mood disorders, and other psychiatric effects. For example, studies have shown that maternal stress experienced prenatally can result in structural changes associated with cognitive developmental disorders.
Adverse events are also independent risk factors for chronic physical disease risk. This was made evident by the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experience) Study. To this day, it is the largest investigation of how childhood trauma negatively effects adults later in life.
The implications of long-term stress can occur anywhere along the timeline of life. The negative psychological impacts of the current crisis have already become evident in healthcare workers, patients, and the world population in general. As a result, several guidelines have been released to take better care of the mental health of our caregivers and our population at large. (source, source, source)
Mitigating the Stress Impact
Thankfully, there are lifestyle practices that have been shown to reverse these detrimental effects. These include mindfulness, physical exercise, social support, and a sense of meaning and purpose. (source) For example, mindfulness has been shown to alleviate the anxiety related amygdala changes. Let’s also not forget about essential oils which can assist with rebalancing our brain’s neurochemistry and biology.
As stated last week, we cannot separate the mind from the body. We need to be proactive about taking care of ourselves mentally as we go through this turbulent time.
Feeding Your Brain for a Better Mood
On my homepage, I discuss another means to support our minds and bodies during these trying times. We can nourish our brain with nutrition to help balance our mood. Although this is only one area in overall wellness, it is an important one. (Click here to read it now.)
In a future post, I will discuss other aspects of health, arguably more imperative to overall wellness. These are social determinants of health and psychological support.
Also, be sure to register for my new group support offering that will focus on using essential oils to nourish your mind and body during times of overwhelm. More details are below.
New Group Support Offering: Nourishing Your Mind and Body Series
For over a month now, I have been providing resources and writing about the importance of nourishing our minds and bodies to enhance resiliency.
On May 23rd, I will begin a group series focused on mind-body support to enhance emotional resilience, improve focus, and optimize physical wellness.
You are welcome to join any or all of these (about) monthly events.
In this first class, we will be focusing on using essential oils for self-care for the mind, body, and soul.
Donations are appreciated but are voluntary.
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This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history, exposures.
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.