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  • We all get stressed, whether it be from work, school, or relationships.

  • But with 80% of adults in the US reporting daily stress, what's this chronic stress doing to all of us?

  • What happens when you're stressed every day?

  • Within seconds of any stressor, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode.

  • First, your eyes and ears send information to your amygdala, the emotional processing center of the brain.

  • Then, from your amygdala, the information moves to your hypothalamus, which communicates with your autonomic nervous system and adrenal glands.

  • These glands then release a burst of the neurotransmitter, adrenaline.

  • This causes the classic feeling of stress: increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and faster breathing.

  • The adrenaline also triggers the release of the stress hormone cortisol.

  • We always hear about the danger of cortisol.

  • But it's actually released to protect your brain from the nerve damage associated with trauma.

  • Within 10 minutes of being stressed, behavioral changes likely take place, including increased aggressive behavior.

  • Around 30 minutes, you may become forgetful, as stress can decrease long-term memory and impair concentration.

  • And after days of consistent stress, your sex drive will likely decrease.

  • Why? From an evolutionary perspective, getting out there and mating would increase the odds of predation.

  • So, one theory is, we may have evolved to decrease our sex drive when stressed to avoid potential threats.

  • But after months of being stressed, your cognitive function will really start to decline.

  • Longitudinal studies of employees in stressful work environments show increased incidences of depression and poor circulatory health.

  • A study on rats showed that six months after being chronically stressed, the rats had increased levels of anxiety and decreased abilities to navigate a maze.

  • This was due to changes in their hippocampus all linked to increased levels of cortisol.

  • This highlights that, although we know cortisol is meant to protect your brain from trauma, long-term exposure to it can be detrimental.

  • With all this in mind, it's no surprise that chronic stress has been linked to many diseases such as obesity, depression, and heart disease.

  • And, suppression of the immune system with increased susceptibility to colds, sleep issues, GI issues, fertility issues, memory problems, and even cancer.

  • So, trying to minimize your stress might be a good idea.

  • But what can you even do to lower your stress levels?

  • Our latest podcast goes into some tactics that you can do to reduce your stress right now based on studies and some of our own personal experiences.

  • You can click on the screen or use the link in the description to check that out.

  • And subscribe for more weekly science videos every Thursday.

We all get stressed, whether it be from work, school, or relationships.

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