How this pandemic may be impacting your brain

There is so much we cannot predict or control.  This can create chronic anxiety and stress.  It certainly impacts our mood, energy and overall heath.  And may even affect the tissue in our brains.

Shy of one year into the pandemic people are feeling defeated, foggy, tired and overwhelmed.  As troubling is the accompanying lack of motivation to engage in the things we know will ultimately make us feel better, and an inability to cope effectively can set in.

A recent study

of Canadians indicates more than half of us – 56% – are feeling stressed on anxious as a result of COVID-19.

In some, chronic stress can negatively impact the tissue in the brain.  The brain reacts beautifully with a fight-flight reaction in the short term.  It then recovers – returns to homeostasis quickly once the threat is removed.  But under a continued onslaught of perceived threat, in some, the brain tissue may begin to remodel leading to challenges with cognition, memory and mood.

The fabulous news, is there are a number of simple interventions that can have a powerful, positive impact on the brain.  We’ve always known these types of activities are helpful over the short term.  Turns out they have a positive impact on creating positive brain tissue changes over the long term too:

The first – and our favourite:  Physical activity.  Of all types and durations.  Long walks AND crazy high intensity interval training are all helpful.   So choose whichever one you prefer.  Better yet – do it all!

The second one:  Mindfulness.  Slow down every moment you can.  Be present.  Listen attentively to those who are speaking to you.  Savour and enjoy every bite of your meal.  Breathe the cool, fresh spring air into your lungs and notice every blade of grass and bud reaching up through the new earth.

Social support:  So tough these days!  We know!  Continue to find every way you can to stay connected to those you care about.

Sense of purpose:  Explore outside yourself and find something or someone who needs your help and attention.


Inspiration of the Day:

“Everyone has the ability to increase resilience to stress. It requires hard work and dedication, but over time, you can equip yourself to handle whatever life throws your way without adverse effects to your health. Training your brain to manage stress won’t just affect the quality of your life, but perhaps even the length of it.” – Amy Morin