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BBC – Future – Why stress is dangerous

In November 2017, two eye surgeons from a Beirut hospital reported an intriguing case of visual loss to a colleague. An expert in the retina, the colleague suddenly made a patch of blurred vision in just one eye a day or two after a severe anxiety in the operating room. This is not the first time this has happened. The surgeon underwent four such phases in just one year, each preceding a stressful day of operation. A small amount of fluid was collected under a small region of his retina, which resulted in temporary removal. The condition was resolved a few weeks later, and a rigorous stress management plan prevented another episode from happening again.

First described in 1866, the CSCR has been linked to stress since World War II, when numerous cases were reported to military personnel. Although subsequent research has linked CSCR to stress-related pathways, it is often labeled as "idiopathic" (originating from an unknown cause) when no trigger other than stress is found. Upon departure from the convention, surgeons labeled the condition "Operating Room CSCR" identifying stress as a cause.

Reflecting on what caused their colleagues to suffer from stress, surgeons noted that new surgical techniques that made it possible for better technology had established the physical limits of what was what a surgeon can do. While this development has expanded the scope of surgery, operating within these limits has put an immense amount of thought into the surgeon.

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959, the foundation's management, Peter Drucker, predicted a dramatic shift in the nature of work that would take place 50 years later. He coined a term for this new type of work, "knowledge-based" and hoped that change would include a transition from physical to mental effort. He later wrote that the center of gravity of the work would change "the man working on what he had between his ears rather than the skill of his hands".

The evolution of eye surgery confirmed some of Drucker's predictions. As technology improves, it transmits the physical skills of the surgeon's hands to the mental skills of evaluation and concentration. occupational hazards

An eye surgery surgery room is at some level a microcosm of today's global area, where the emerging nature of work requires less of the body and more yet from the mind. As a result, the mind becomes a greater victim of occupational hazards.

According to the United Kingdom's Health and Safety Executive (HSE), stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 57% of all "sick days" in 2017/2018. The increased productivity of the mind on productivity drives interest in what may impede its performance. The focus fell on stress.

János Hugo Bruno "Hans" Selye is a Canadian-Hungarian physician who introduced the first definition of "stress" in the 1930s. He borrowed the word from the 17th Century English physicist Robert Hooke, whose Law of 1658 describes the relationship between physical stress in a material and its consequence, strain. Selye reported the use of the word "stress" instead of "lame", which left stress inherent in some obscurity. It covers a rare niche in the English language which means both the cause and the consequence – of itself.

Stress from suppression for a few hours increased the number of "newborn" brain cells in one part of the rat brain 19659009] Research since Selye's time revealed a chronic stress reactions are developed in a rich process environment. We now know that bungee jumpers become insulin resistant immediately following a bungee jump, and the stress of conversation 200 students raises markers of inflammation among college professors. These processes offer a safety advantage under threat. Temporary insulin resistance, for example, ensures that the sugar reaches a brain under duress, while inflammation holds a protective shield against unwanted guests entering battle wounds. The experience is over, and any lasting effects can be better than ever. For example, studies in mice, fatigue from suppression for a few hours may increase the number of "newborn" brain cells in one part of the rat brain, which may correspond to more good performance on some types of memory tests. [19659002] The stress that is too often, too intense, however, or constantly present puts us under prolonged strain. Many of the players in the stress response are called "non-linear dose-dependent actions" which means their effects change course with prolonged activity. As a result, chronic stress implies a gradual, continuous shift in the parameters of psychological and physiological tips on the scales toward the disorder along different pathways.

The sympathetic and parasympathetic arms of the autonomic nervous system – a nervous network that regulates accidental processes such as blood pressure, breathing and digestion – play an important role in orchestrating the acute stress response . During times of fear or anger, sympathetic activity (responsible for the "fight-or-flight" response) temporarily arises and parasympathetic activity (under "rest-and-digest" responses) falls. If this pattern of activity persists in the absence of stress, however, it may tilt us toward hypertension and other disorders. Similarly, while temporary emotional reactivity to chronic stress helps us predict risk, a long-term change in the dynamics of emotion regulation may tilt us toward mood disorders. a role in increasing the global burden of hypertension and type 2 diabetes, and pushing the mice into major depression. Corroborating observations from animal studies and early human studies suggest that chronic stress may even alter the structure of the brain.

In the first study of its kind, Ivanka Savic and colleagues at Sweden's Karolinska Institute and Stockholm University recently compared the brains of people suffering. from acute to chronic stress to healthy, less stressful counterparts using the structural magnetic resonance imaging technique. They found a diversity in regions that were active in attention allocation, decision making, memory and emotion processing. In stressed subjects, the prefrontal cortex appears thinner, the amygdala appears thicker and the caudate nucleus smaller. Thinning in the prefrontal cortex correlates with worse emotional regulation.

A three-month long rehabilitation rehabilitation program revisited thinning in the prefrontal cortex

To establish whether chronic stress was intentionally linked to changes or caused changes in the structures individuals, the researchers re-scanned their brains after a three-month stress-rehabilitation program based on cognitive therapy and breathing exercises. The thinning in the prefrontal cortex is reversed. While the study has its limitations (no "uncontrolled anxiety" control group), this review has the potential for chronic stress to cause thinning. Other studies have found that high levels of circulating hormone cortisols have worse memory and thinning in parts of the brain, even at relatively young ages.

These changes may partly be due to the inherent nature of our brains, a manifestation of the extraordinary brain talent of adapting to whatever it demands. In the midst of conflict, for example, increasing emotional reactivity is a survival advantage, while higher cognitive functions become redundant. Remodeling the state of the brain's baseline to increase efficiency in this way will save the life of a combat soldier. In setting up a workplace that relies on focus and complex decision making, however, compromised emotional regulation and a reduction in working memory will limit productivity. Changes in brain structure are maladaptive.

Chronic stress often hits a psychosocial route and is influenced by perception. While studying empirical chronic stress can be challenging, it also provides a potential path for managing chronic stress: one's perceptual experience.

An example is the effect of gossip. Reproducing the memory of a stressful experience right after it can activate similar brain pathways as actual experience. It will keep the stress reaction "open" even when a stressor is no longer there and cause the experience to be more stressful than it actually is. Preventing people from ruminating decreases their blood pressure faster after chronic stress. Chronic stress has been linked to hypertension and in a small, randomized trial, US researchers, including Lynn Clemow at Columbia University Medical Center, used stress management training (based on a cognitive-behavioral group workshop ) to effectively lower systolic blood pressure in hypertension patients. The decline in pressure is linked to a decrease in depressed gossip.

The substance of stress perception may be the reason for some mind-body interventions such as yoga, breathing techniques and meditation can benefit from stress management through effects on improving emotional regulation, reducing stress activation and accelerating recovery after stress. This may also explain why some methods such as cognitive processing have shown mixed results in controlled studies. It is possible that the meditation technique may invite gossip and repeated negative thoughts in some individuals but not in others. Structured stress can vary across genetic and epigenetic factors, individual traits, patterns of thought and behavior, and the journey of one's life to this day.

Status and control

In some ways, the brain mimics a prediction machine that actively enters its environment to create a perceptible representation of reality. An understanding of uncertainty, uncertainty or lack of control can signal that there is a flaw in its model of reality and promote stress.

A practical demonstration of this theory lies in the way stress is modulated by social status. Having a high social status impedes your reaction to psychological stress, but if you think your social status may be challenged, having a lower social status may be better. This effect is linked to feeling out of control and may play a role in why competition, inequality and feeling judged can cause stress.

In a predictable world where you have perfect control, a cause must lead to an unpredictable effect. A frequent skepticism between the effort you put in and the reward you receive for your efforts is frustrating the sense of control. As such, an "imbalance reward" is a source of chronic stress in the workplace. It has been linked to an increase in blood pressure among women cleaning a hotel room in Las Vegas, with burnout among police officers in Buffalo, New York, and with metabolic syndrome, state police say. in Genoa, Italy. Trying to deal with a mismatch between effort and rewarding work on a daily basis is emotionally exhausting and requires extreme mental performance. In a study in Australian horse jockeys, experiencing high levels of reward imbalance during times of intense stress was associated with a decision-making weakness comparable to that associated with alcohol concentration in alcohol is 8%.

It is not just the nature of our social interactions that can exacerbate stress. The impact of certain aspects of urban life on stress reactivity may have been underestimated as well. A seemingly “soft” factor such as exposure to the environment can accelerate recovery following stress and lower stress markers. Bright light or blue exposure late at night from the use of LED screens can delay the release of melatonin, a hormone that has been shown to reduce anxiety. Exercise low energy reduces circulating cortisol levels, but the need for frequent movements is often redundant.

Urbanization increases consumption of processed foods and a processed diet linked to depressing depressive symptoms in at least two large cohorts. Our dietary habits have altered the microorganisms that inhabit the digestive tract and these micro-organisms, through cross-talk with immune cells and other routes, can influence how the immune system responds. mind the stress.

There is some evidence that modulating the gut microbiota with specific foods or taking probiotics may help reduce symptoms of anxiety. These early results suggest that taking either a single strain or a combination of probiotics can reduce cognitive fatigue and improve cognitive performance during stress – but not in the absence of stress.

At a 2015 exhibition at the Petit Palais in Paris, Belgian artist Thomas Lerooy presented a perceptive visual metaphor of mental stress in an exhibit entitled "Not enough brain to survive". The bronze sculpture depicts a classical good-looking body weighing an oversized, rather sad head.

Unlike Lerooy's piece, the human head does not expand and sink to the ground as the stress increases. Mental fatigue after a complex ophthalmic procedure is not seen. The surgeon is not obsessed with air or sweat. The painting painted with mental fatigue is noticeably abstract compared to known signs of physical exertion.

Movement thinking is a factor limiting performance to an age where physical load continues to return to mental load. As we get past the information age, it's time for the enigma of chronic stress to finally move into the spotlight.

Mithu Storoni trained as an eye surgeon and studied diseases affecting the visual brain before writing Stress-Proof: The Ultimate Guide to Living a Life Without Stress (Hodder / Yellow Kite).

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