Stress Creates More Stress

The Following is a Snippet from my up and coming eBook on Mental Health

Many of us live in a state of chronic sympathetic activity, always ready to fight or flee. This sets a person up for a downward spiral of brain function, which in turn generates ever-higher levels of stress. It’s like being stuck on a roundabout with no exits. 

As the brain degenerates, overall firing in the brain decreases. This means output into the PMRF decreases. If the PMRF decreases the stimulation to our rest and digest system also decreases along with its ability to reduce sympathetic stress from the IML.

As a result, stress continues to power up whilst our rest and digest system continues to lose power. The result may be a person living in constant heightened stress, high blood pressure, anxiety, irritability, and a general state of being stressed out.

That’s not all,

Located on the top of the brainstem is the mesolimbic system (midbrain reticular formation) This is an area of the brain concerned with survival, mating, and primitive emotions such as anger and love.

Brain degeneration further contributes to stress by stimulating the mesolimbic system, which activates sympathetic stress. So not only does brain degeneration fail to reduce sympathetic stress, but it also creates more stress by activating the midbrain. 

Inflammation has been shown to activate the mesolimbic system. Studies show the midbrain is rich with receptors for a cytokine, or immune messenger, called interleukin-6 (IL-6) (96.) 

IL-6 spikes in response to emotional, chemical, or physical stress, overfilling IL-6 receptors in the midbrain. This, in turn, stimulates the IML, generating a sympathetic response. 

Just getting into a heated argument with your spouse will raise IL-6 levels and enhance the sympathetic stress response (59.) An angry argument can cause a spike in IL-6 that lasts up to several days. (97) 

Lack of sleep, Inflammation and over-exercising can also spike IL-6 (98-100.)

If the mesolimbic system gets bombarded with IL-6 too frequently, it develops negative plasticity for stress (101) This means when stress repeatedly activates the midbrain reticular formation (mesolimbic system), it becomes increasingly efficient at responding to stress, so that it takes less stress over time to create the same response. Say you get road rage, at first you rage at someone cutting you up and only just missing you, over time you may just get triggered at getting stopped at a red light.

Basically, this means the brain becomes good at stress, like a footballer constantly practising football they become better at it, Our brains over time become world-class at creating stress. Obviously This is not a good thing, it means that small stuff will start to stress you out. Eventually, it becomes permanently active and easily generates a stress response with very little stimulus. We see this with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

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