Life is so stressful, isn’t it?
There’s your job, and the boss you’re always trying to please. There’s the bus, that’s never on time.
There are your kids, who can’t seem to do their homework without you telling them to.
Then there’s your mother-in-law on the phone complaining that you’re not doing this or that right…
Plus a million other little things that pop up unexpectedly, day after day…
By the time you finally fall into bed each night, you’re exhausted.
Your heart’s been racing all day, you’ve drunk too many coffees, and your eye keeps twitching.
And now you can’t sleep.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Okay, so maybe you don’t have kids or a mother-in-law.
But you get the picture.
Your daily life is a crazy rush-rush-rush from one place to the next or one problem to the next.
And – you’re not going to like this – but you know what’s even worse?
All that stress and worry could well be setting you up for dementia.
You see, when you’re stressed, your body switches into “fight or flight” mode.
This is a built-in characteristic that hails from our hunter-gatherer times.
Back then, a typical “stressor” was the very real danger of coming face-to-face with a saber-tooth tiger.
The sight of the tiger would stimulate our adrenal glands to start pumping out stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
This causes our muscles to tense up, our heart to race, and our whole body to feel alert and ‘wired’.
Today, there are no saber-tooth tigers.
Instead, there are angry bosses, deadlines, school reports, traffic, job issues, health issues, family issues and lots, lots more.
All of these things can trigger a cascade of stress hormones that can have major physiological and psychological effects.
Over time, repeated activation of “fight or flight” mode can take a major toll on the body.
Research shows that chronic stress contributes to high blood pressure, heart disease, and can predispose your brain to anxiety, depression, and addiction.
Studies have revealed that chronic stress and anxiety and chronic stress can lead to structural degeneration and impaired functioning of the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex.
These are the parts of your brain responsible for thinking, learning, and memory.