How to protect your Brain from stress

Sometimes life is just stressful. There’s nothing we can do to avoid it when work piles up, or illness strikes, or family problems arise. There are some stresses in life we can avoid, but many we can’t. This might seem worrying given what we know in the 21st century about brain health and the potentially dangerous effects stress can have on that. But the good news is that we’re also more knowledgeable about our brains and how best to protect them, so harmful illnesses like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s can be controlled and fought against. The same is true of stress, and while it is often unavoidable, there is lots you can do to protect your brain when you are going through stressful times.

Don’t Skip Meals When you don’t eat, your blood-sugar levels drop, creating a panicked response from your brain. This is because stress hormones multiply when your levels drop and when this is a regular occurrence, it can cause lasting damage to your brain. Your brain needs a steady supply of energy and relatively stable levels of blood sugar to function effectively, so be sure that you give it the fuel it needs by committing to eating your ‘3 square’ meals per day. Eat a High Fiber Diet You may be wondering how fiber can help alleviate stress on the brain. Well, in addition to eating every few hours to ensure that the brain has an adequate supply of energy, eating a diet high in fiber can ensure the slow release of blood sugar and sustain it over hours. To boost your fiber intake, sprinkle flax or hemp seeds on your cereal, add a half-cup of beans to your next soup or salad, and thicken your next smoothie with a tablespoon of chia seeds.

Don’t be Afraid to say ‘NO’! There are always going to be people, situations and tasks that demand our time, effort and attention. Being involved in too many things at one time is exhausting and is a big cause of stress. Whilst it is important to live life, the best way to protect your brain is not to overload yourself, and to learn to prioritize. You can do this by simply saying ‘no’ when you feel like you’re taking on too much. It’s often a very difficult thing to do, but ‘no’ is a powerful word that can make the difference between stress you can cope with and stress that is just ‘too much’. At the end of the day, it’s important to always put your wellbeing first.

Take Supplements For a stressed-out brain, vitamins B & C are the most vital nutrients. Vitamin C levels drop dramatically when the you’re stressed, yet this is exactly when the brain needs it most to defend itself and keep it functioning well. Vitamin B is primarily used by the body to prevent stress, depression and irritability. It ensures the brain has the energy to perform at its optimum capacity. The key thing to note is that both vitamins are not found in the body, and so your brain relies on the food you eat for its supply. That’s where supplements are so very useful – take both a Vitamin B-complex and a vitamin C supplement regularly and your brain will be in peak condition to handle the stresses of life.

Meditate Meditation is scientifically proven to help you relax, and stay calm and in control. Studies also show that it improves blood flow to the brain, which improves your focus, ability to think and your energy levels. These benefits were even observed to last after the meditation session had finished.