Signs That Stress Is Affecting Your Brain | Headington Institute Skip to content

Signs That Stress Is Affecting Your Brain

Prolonged stress exposure, left on its own, is no good. Over time, our brain rewires itself in response to unrelenting stress. The part of the brain that we associate with our true self shrinks, and the part of the brain that keeps us on edge grows denser. What does this mean? Our brain gradually shifts to a “new normal” and learns to expect the worst. This can make it hard to enjoy life, even when we want to. Here are some default emotional responses common in those affected by chronic stress:

  • Discouragement – Depression (how did this happen?)
  • Worry – Anxiety (what will happen?)
  • Irritability – Anger (who’s to blame?)

What can you do about it? There are a number of things you can do. Click here for a list of protective factors that help your brain recover from stress.

More signs of the brain becoming damaged

  • Emotional agitation: short temper, anxious, depressed.
  • Prone to conflict, withdrawing, or both.
  • A feeling of no room inside, everything affects us, no shock absorbers.
  • Being unable to think well: everything is important and nothing is important.
  • Self-medicating with alcohol, tobacco, drugs or sex.
  • Prone to flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, avoidance.
  • Feeling mistrustful and paranoid.
  • Memory problems/visual spatial confusionSigns That Stress Is Affecting Your Brain

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