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Stress & The Brain

COMM-1088 iThink, Term 1 at NC.

rebekah marie

on 16 December 2015

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Transcript of Stress & The Brain

The Science of it All
Fighting Back
By Rebekah Terpstra
COMM-1088: iThink
Overcoming Stress
The effect it has on our brains,
and how we can fight back.
Strategy #1
Strategy #2
Strategy #3
Works Cited
A Rebekah
Strategy #4
Chronic Stress has Long-Term impacts
occurring for a
long time,
or persistently
Stress disrupts Memory
Chemistry & Connectivity
"the stress hormone"
Grey Matter
Mostly composed of neurons for storing information

White Matter (Myelin)
Mostly composed of axons, for neural connections

Excess of Myelin can lead to development of mental, mood, and emotional disorders later in life

When connections between the Amygdala and Hippocampus are disrupted, it can strengthen fear responses to an unhealthy point (relation to PTSD)

Social Intelligence
psychologist Daniel Goleman wrote that
"The hippocampus is especially vulnerable
to ongoing emotional distress
because of the damaging effects of cortisol"

(Sanders, 2014).
Chronic stress can lower the number of stem cells that grow into new neurons

This harms a person's learning & memory

Cortisol increases the size of the Amygdala, which impacts our panic as well as our emotional reactions

This then tampers with our ability to perceive information

Our minds will remember fear/panic better than what the person is actually studying

(Gregoire, 2015).
Too much stress leads to an excess of Myelin

This results in unbalanced amounts of grey & white matter, and therefore improper connections and communications in our brain

(Sanders, 2014).
This image shows an excess of Myelin (red) disrupting communication in the brain's neural pathways
Maintain a good diet.
Always eat breakfast
Have balanced & nutritional meals

Lower your caffeine intake.
Cut down on coffee, soft drinks, and sugary snacks

Avoid alcohol, smoking, and drugs.

And get enough rest!
(Robinson, Smith, & Segal; 2015).
Letting out aggression
reduces cortisol levels.
Try kickboxing, sparring, or a punching bag

burn cortisol.
Try walking, jogging, the elliptical, swimming, etc.
Bonus: If this is done most days of the week, it can help conquer stress long-term

decreases cortisol as well as fear levels.
(Bergland, 2015).
All kinds of meditation are good for lowering anxiety & cortisol levels

Meditation practices are different for everyone, so choose what's best for you

Just 10-15 each day of simply relaxing and breathing deeply has been proven to lower cortisol levels, heart rate, and blood pressure
(Bergland, 2015).
Engaging socially with people who make you feel safe is relaxing for the body and mind

Engagements such as
eye contact
"put the brakes on defensive stress responses" (Robinson et al, 2015)

Being/connecting with friends can also release hormones that reduce and counteract cortisol

Christopher Bergland notes that "Close knit human bonds—whether it be family, friendship or a romantic partner—are vital for your physical and mental health at any age" (2015).
(Robinson, Segal, & Smith; 2015).
One of the most natural ways to fight back against stress is to complete an activity that you personally enjoy

Doing one thing that you really like each day, even just for small amounts of time (ie: 10-20 minutes) can fight your stress and reduce overall cortisol levels

Starting an art project
Reading a book
Playing a sport
Listening to music
Board games
Watching a movie
(Heart.org, 2015).
Bergland, Christopher. "Cortisol: Why The Stress Hormone Is Public Enemy No. 1". Psychology Today. N.p., 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.
Gregoire, Carolyn. 'How Stress Changes The Brain'. The Huffington Post. N.p., 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2015
Heart.org,. "Four Ways To Deal With Stress". N.p., 2015. Web.
30 Nov. 2015.
Robinson, Lawrence, Melinda Smith, and Robert Segal. 'Stress Management: How To Reduce, Prevent, And Cope With Stress'. Helpguide.org. N.p., 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.
Sanders, Robert. 'New Evidence That Chronic Stress Predisposes Brain To Mental Illness'. Berkeley News. N.p., 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.
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