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  • Writer's pictureDallas Shepard

Your Brain and Stress



Unexpected Stress
Unexpected Stress

Imagine embarking on a hike with loved ones, to enjoy a picnic lunch amidst nature. Suddenly, a swift, tawny creature dashes across your path - a mountain lion! Your body reacts instantly: heart racing, breath quickening, sweat beading, eyes fixated, digestion halting. Could you calmly sit down for lunch? Certainly not.


Emotionally, composing a heartfelt letter seems improbable. Behaviorally, you'd prioritize safety, ushering loved ones to shelter with disregard to their feelings. Spiritually, thoughts drift from grace to survival. Intellectually, complex tasks blur into insignificance.

These responses are natural in fight, flight, or freeze mode, impacting all facets of life. What if this state lingers? Chronic stress, linked to over 200 ailments, ensues.

Now, envision the tawny figure is merely a neighbor's Golden Retriever. Relief floods in, restoring equilibrium swiftly. Lunch could resume, serenity prevails, God's creation admired, and deeper musings entertained.


Yet, past trauma, anxiety, depression, or brain injury can trap us in perpetual heightened stress. Familiarity breeds acceptance, limiting adaptability. The stress curve below offers a visual cue: where do you stand? Our goal: guide minds and bodies to the tranquil left side of the graph.


Your Brain and Stress on a Curve


Stress Curve
Stress Curve

Stress is an integral part of life that affects us in multiple dimensions—physically, emotionally, behaviorally, spiritually, cognitively, and intellectually. The Stress Curve, also known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law, depicts the relationship between stress levels and performance. It's important to understand that a totally stress-free life is unrealistic; stress is inevitable, but how we manage it significantly impacts our well-being and performance.

The curve is structured with stress levels along the x-axis, increasing from left to right, and performance along the y-axis. The goal is to maintain a position on the 'green side' of the graph—where individuals are happy, healthy, and productive.


The Phases of the Stress Curve

  1. Inactivity - This phase is like a Cuna Mata from the movie Lion King where there is not a care in the world but there is not a lot of performance or production happening.

  2. Optimal Stress: This is the ascending part of the curve where a moderate amount of stress actually benefits performance, leading to high efficiency and better problem-solving.

  3. Peak of the Curve: Here, individuals may experience fatigue after a period of sustained effort. This is normal, and recovery is typically swift given proper rest and de-stressing techniques. Performance is high along with resilience.

  4. Beyond the Peak: If additional stress is not managed, one can enter a state of exhaustion. Unlike routine fatigue, exhaustion doesn't fade quickly and can herald the onset of chronic stress. Performance begins to falter and resilience is lessened.

  5. High Stress: Continuing to endure unchecked stress leads to dangerously high levels, where anxiety, panic, anger, and depression can manifest.

  6. Breakdown: This is depicted as the descending part of the curve. This stage is characterized by severe and detrimental impacts on a person’s physical, emotional, behavioral, spiritual, and cognitive functions.


Application in Neurological Health

At Harmonized Brain Centers, we focus on creating an environment conducive to optimal brain function. Recognizing that high-stress levels can hinder mental, emotional, and physical health, we strive to alleviate stress through drug-free, non-invasive, and safe methods that have a restorative effect on neurological, mental and physiological health.


Our Objective:



Stressed
Stressed

Utilize our array of tools to help individuals slide back down from the high-stress zone to the balanced region of the Stress Curve. It's crucial for sustained brain health to keep stress levels managed within the 'green zone' of the curve, where performance is at its peak without the burden of potential negative health consequences.

View stress as akin to a rubber band in life. Like a rubber band, stress is necessary to hold things together. However, when faced with past trauma, a challenging work environment, relationship struggles, health concerns, or financial burdens, our rubber bands can become stretched to their limits, leaving no room for further expansion.

A few key observations arise from this situation:

  1. It requires significant energy just to maintain this state.

  2. The rubber band lacks the capacity to cope with any additional stressors, positive or negative.

  3. Merely existing in this high-stress state becomes draining.

  4. Eventually, a breaking point is reached - physically, emotionally, spiritually, behaviorally, intellectually, or in a combination of these areas - leading to a compromised immune system.

Our goal is to guide the rubber band back from its stretched extreme to a more balanced state (the green area on the curve). By returning to this equilibrium, one gains the flexibility needed to handle stressors effectively when they arise.


Final Thoughts: Managing stress is an essential skill for maintaining brain health and overall well-being. Utilizing professional resources like Harmonized Brain Centers can provide individuals with the strategies and care needed to keep stress at its optimum level and enhance their quality of life.


Harmonized Brain Centers
Harmonized Brain Centers

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