Have you ever felt “stressed out” helpless, anxious, depressed, or even unsure of how to feel? The physical effects of stress cause intellectual problems. As stress levels rise, your body produces more of the cortisol hormone. In the brain, high levels of cortisol cause damage to the memory center of the brain and decrease the amount of nutrition reaching your brain. These effects slow your brain down, causing you to be forgetful and have trouble thinking. Stress also causes the choline hormone to decrease. Choline helps you learn by growing brain cells. Because stresses decreases this hormone, you might have difficulty with problem-solving or concentrating.
Because you now know that stress affects your ability to think, you should create a plan to decrease your stress level. Your plan should help you deal with the hassles of everyday life. Here are a few suggestions to help you de-stress:
- Take a moment to quiet your mind with meditation
- Say a prayer like the Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
- Focus on something that brings you happiness
- Talk to a friend, doctor, or therapist
- Do something relaxing: take a vacation, walk, or bubble bath
- Practice Yoga
- Socialize with friends and family
- Join a support group
With a plan, you are more likely to decrease stress and improve your thinking.