|Health & Fitness 2|
Brain GainsLearning to manage stress isn't just good for your body. It keeps your mind and spirit more youthful, too.
With fewer worries to tax your brain, don't be surprised if your noggin becomes more nimble. Under highly stressful conditions, it's simply harder to remember things and to concentrate. When stress hits high gear, you may be unable to retain a sentence that you have just read or remember someone you met minutes before.
Some evidence even shows that high levels of stress may shrink the part of the brain that governs learning and memory. Scientists who studied the brains of people with severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder found that one part of the brain, called the hippocampus, actually became smaller when high-level stress kicked in. Some researchers speculate that the shrinkage could result from raised levels of stress hormones called glucocorticords.
When stress declines, you are more likely to stretch your physical and mental boundaries, suggests Phil Nuernberger, Ph.D., president of Mind Resources Technologies in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, and author of The Quest for Personal Power: Transforming Stress into Strength. Less worry means more energy to take on new challenges or reconnect with the things that are meaningful to you, such as taking up a sport you like or renewing old friendships. This kind of reaching out is itself an age protector because studies have shown that people with strong spiritual beliefs and social support live longer,
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