Stress is the Enemy of Cherished Memories
Brain health is a complicated topic, and medical research is only just scratching the surface. From the perspective of Optimal Health, protecting our brains is essential. For most of us, our goal is to live longer in order to create and share more memories with the people we love. If we don’t protect our brains, we don’t get to cherish those memories.
In previous articles, I wrote about how…
- Habits of Healthy Sleep might help us maintain memories later in life.
- Habits of a Healthy Mind can keep your mind fit and engaged.
- Habits of Healthy Motion can keep your healthy and active.
New research out of The Ohio State University suggests that sustained stress “erodes memory” and that our immune systems might impact cognitive impairment as well. Their study, even though it was done on mice, has strong implications for the health of our brains. The researchers found that consistent stress, in addition to impairing short term memory response, the chronic stress seemed to trigger an immune system response: inflammation.
This inflammation, the researchers claim, is what caused the short-term memory loss.
The immune system—our own personal 24/7 on-call emergency service—has an incredible ability to seek our intruders such as bacteria and viruses. It’s the most complex system in the body, defending us at every turn, seeking to restore balance to unbalanced body. Unfortunately, that’s not always what happens, especially if we make Habits of Disease our way of life.
Whenever we use a Habit of Disease, our immune systems goes on alert. Not an all-out attack that gets your attention, like the fever that means you’re coming down from the flu. Instead, it trickles inflammatory molecules into your blood in quantities so small they can only discover be detected through a special test. Unnoticed, these inflammatory biochemical work their sinister effect against your blood vessels, joints, brain, and other critical systems. It may start with stiff, painful joints or tired-looking skin, but it can also lead to something more menacing like cancer or stroke.
We’ve known for some time that chronic inflammation is one of the key enemies of longevity, and given what we already know about the negative effects of stress, it would not be surprising to discover that this same connection between stress and inflammation in mice also exists in humans.
If you needed more reasons to address the sources of stress in your life, perhaps this will be what awakens you to the value of making a change.
Do you consistently suffer from stress? Are there significant sources of stress in your life? If you’re like most of us, your answers are probably yes to both questions. For the sake of your health and your longevity, you should begin to explore practices like meditation, regular exercise, and even significant life changes (perhaps a new career or more volunteer work) to lower the tress levels in your life.
Less stress could mean less inflammation, which could mean a big win for your health.