Americans just broke a record for being stressed out and it’s doing a number on our brains, says the author of a new book.
Psychologist Melanie Greenberg, author of The Stress-Proof Brain says changing the way you think about stressors can eliminate this phenomenon.
The American Psychological Association’s annual survey of stress in America had its first statistically significant year over year increase in stress levels since it launched a decade ago.
It’s not the stressor itself, but how you react to it that determines the effect it has on your health, says Greenberg. She cites a study of mothers with special needs children who didn’t actually see their roles as stressful. Their brains didn’t experience the cellular aging experienced by other moms who did see their caregiving as stressful.
The brain’s amygdala acts as a kind of alarm system for the brain that can hijack it while looking for threats. The prefrontal cortex, on the other hand, can calm the amygdala down through meditation and mindfulness.
“The brain can create a lot of worry,” says Greenberg, citing the common affliction she refers to as “anticipatory anxiety.”
Instead of focusing on what could or did go wrong, Greenberg offers these tips on how to get the better of your stressed-out brain:
Source: USA Today | Jayne O’Donnell