How Stress Harms the Brain

From an engineering standpoint, stress can be defined as the amount of resistance a materia offers to being reshaped and reformed.  When you place a load on a steel beam, the beam resists, keeping the building from collapsing.  If the load is great enough, the beam gives way and the structure suffers damage or collapses.  Psychological stress is similar.  When we can no longer resist forces that are trying to shape and mold us, whether they are our spouse’s behavior or our nation’s economic or political situation, we break down, becoming anxious and depressed, unable to cope.

Psychologists identify two kinds of stress: acute and chronic.  Both affect the health of mitochondria in our cells and our general well-being.  Acute stress is relatively short-lived.  It’s what you encounter when faced with a novel learning situation, and it is actually good for you in the sense that it allows you to remember the event, be it positive or negative.  Chronic stress in long-lasting.  It occurs when you worry all month about how you’re going to make your mortgage or rent payment, or when you dread waking up next to the person you married years earlier, or when you worry about the pandemic, the covid variants, the vaccines and whether it is safe to go out in public.

The stress hormone cortisol, which is produced in excessive amounts when we are locked in a state of chronic stress increases the effects of free radicals in the neurons of the hippocampus.  This causes damage to the mitochondria, which in turn causes damage to the mitochondria, which in turn causes even more free radical production.  Chronic stress can lead to a rut in which the wiring of our neural networks keeps us repeating the same dysfunctional behavior and hoping for a different outcome.  As we experience depression and repetitive behaviors that stem from chronic stress, we’re less capable of analytic thought.  The stress hormones released into the bloodstream keep us at a lower order of brain function, unable to attain synergy.

We find it increasingly difficult to learn from past experiences, to alter the beliefs that cause us to re-create those experiences again and again, and to break out of our behavioral ruts.  Because of the way our brains have been wired by stress and trauma, we’re unable to think or feel our way out of personal crisis.

Fortunately, researchers have discovered that we can stop this cascade of destructive chemical events. Research using animals has shown that and elevated level of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a protective brain hormone increased by such activities as calorie reduction, fasting, and mental and physical exercise, imparts a high level of protection for the hippocampus, making it resistant to damage from elevated cortisol; and we now understand that in humans, BDNF plays the identical role.

Are you ready to reduce stress in your life? A combination of nutritional supplements, glutathione, and hyperbaric oxygen – discussed in the Power Up Your Brain Program protocols will help you.