Most of us have experienced stress countless times. Moreover, we think of stress as nothing unusual but deal with it as best as we can. However, some of us may be aware that stress is not good for your body. And stress is especially bad if it goes on for long periods of time. For example, most of us have experienced having to work long hours, days or weeks at a time. Also some of us have night jobs that keep us awake and cause stress.
Stress is especially worrying for middle aged people. Most noteworthy, a recent 8 year study followed about 2,300 middle aged people who have not yet shown signs of dementia. Based on their cortisol levels at the start of the study, they were divided into three groups. Those with:
- Low cortisol levels – low stress group
- Medium cortisol levels – medium stress group
- High cortisol levels – high stress group
At the end of the 8 year study, those with high cortisol levels had lower scores on tests of memory and thinking skills than when they started the study. And their brain volume, as measured by MRI, had shrunk a little. Therefore, unless the underlying stress is not addressed, the memory and thinking skills of the high stress group will likely get worse, possibly leading to dementia.
Moreover, it doesn’t have to be that way. Those in the high stress group can take steps to get relief. And the accompanying infographic, shows many popular methods that provide stress relief.