But I have found that when we have excessive stress, we tend to either get caught in a rut or return to some old pattern that we had created earlier in life to self-sooth (food, shopping, crying, etc.) When the brain is too heavily focused on staying on task, it loses its ability to grow and stretch to allow for new memories that come from new learning and experiences. When you have "too much on your mind," the stress you may be feeling is your brain chemicals fighting for the chance to grow and remember.
As we age, our hormone levels decrease. But when our hormone levels get too low (which stress contributes to), aging accelerates, and our bodies can function as though they're far older than our chronological age. I refer to these hormonal changes as PAUSES - the concept being based on the idea of menopause. Because hormones regulate all of the systems in the body, this experience can be related to all organs and systems of both men and women. Pauses include Thyropause, Cardiopause, Adrenopause, Gastropause, Andropause, Osteopause, Dermopause, etc. (We'll discuss more on these Pauses in upcoming weeks.)
A person whose "PAUSES" begin sooner than they should is probably under great STRESS. When brain stress is high, hormonal imbalances start very early on.
What are some ways in which we can reduce our stress? It doesn't have to be a radical change. A one-hour nap, for example, is perfect for giving your brain a chance to restore its neurotransmitters naturally. And of course there's no lack of evidence about the efficacy of regular physical exertion in improving health. Meditation, chanting, and prayer have calming effects that allow the brain to slow down and resynchronize. Nurturing relationships also allows your brain to relax; but relationships fraught with stress and antagonism will eventually deplete your supply of neurotransmitters.
Call for an appointment to assess your brain chemistry and hormonal health. We can determine which part of you is aging quicker than others and help you to become balanced and return to health. You're only as Young as your Oldest Part.
Eric R. Braverman, M.D.
Dr. Braverman is a Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brandeis University and NYU Medical School, did brain research at Harvard Medical School, and trained at an affiliate of Yale Medical School. He is acknowledged worldwide as an expert in brain-based diagnosis and treatment, and he lectures to and trains doctors in anti-aging medicine.