Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday Feature: This is Your Brain on Stress

Last week, I decided that it's quite possible that I have unrealistic expectations for myself. To say that this was not surprising to those around me is an understatement.

I've always considered a strong work ethic to be a good thing. But, when we aim to do more than is humanly possible while still striving to believe that our lists are realistic, stress results.

Not all stress is bad. Chronic stress, however, can create all sorts of negative outcomes, ranging from temporary issues with memory to physical illness.

As is often the case, research focuses first on rodents, then looks for applications for humans. Recent research on the results of stress on the brain indicate that the effects of stress can linger even after the stressor is long gone.

So, I'm going to try to take last week's conclusion seriously, consciously dialing back my expectations a bit, or, at the very least, validating my own need for breaks, rest and relaxation. I know it will be a process; this overachiever thing has taken a lifetime to develop, and it won't disappear overnight, but that's okay.

It's the long-range plan that concerns me.

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