The power of positive thinking can have some remarkable benefits. One need only look at the placebo effect as an example. This occurs when patients are unknowingly given completely ineffective medications for a condition, and yet are healed anyway. Researchers attribute this phenomenon to the person’s belief that they will be healed by the placebo, which actually causes the body’s chemistry to change. However, the flip side to this is that stress (or negative thoughts) is quite toxic to the body and especially to our brains. In this article, we’ll take a look at eight frightening effects that stress has on our brains.
8. Headaches Will Mercilessly Throb
As if the stress itself isn’t bad enough, it can actually compound matters by giving you a splitting headache that will likely only increase your irritability and stress levels. Stress is the leading cause of tension-type headaches (also called stress headaches), which are thought to be the most common form that those head-throbbing annoyances take. Nearly half of all adults suffer from a headache at least once a year, and stress headaches can develop into more severe migraine headaches if allowed to fester. Caffeine can be a useful stress (and stress headache) inhibitor, as can stress management techniques.
7. Stress Allows Toxins into Your Brain
We have a powerful blood-brain barrier that prevents just about everything but essential nutrients from getting into our brains. In fact, this barrier is so powerful that it even blocks our own helpful treatments from reaching their destination in the brain, though we’re working on ways to overcome that. However, stress can weaken the blood-brain barrier, allowing harmful toxins and chemicals into the brain. A weakened barrier could contribute to the formation of some neurodegenerative diseases and can increase the severity of conditions like multiple sclerosis.