Feel like your brain is fried with all those tight deadlines
after a nice long, relaxing weekend? Here’s how to recharge in no time.
Think happy thoughts
When you're stressed, your brain has trouble sending
information from the amygdala (basically your brain's gatekeeper) to the
prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for higher-level thinking, says Judy
Willis, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Neurology.
on something positive – like your upcoming vacation or a date that you're
looking forward to – can help lower stress levels and increase the flow of
information to your prefrontal cortex, she says. Translation: You'll actually
be able to start thinking clearly again.
Research shows that humour has a similarly brain-calming
effect, says Willis, so watching Dave After Dentist or the latest Jimmy Kimmel
stunt can help. The videos won't just get you laughing – brain imaging research
indicates that they may also increase motivation and perseverance and decrease
stress so you can regain control of your mental facilities. That's two minutes
Get A hobby
Anything from learning how to crochet to running marathons
works, so long as it satisfies two requirements: It has to be something you enjoy
doing, and you have to be able to make clear, measurable progress while doing
it. The kind of on-going progress sends your brain a steady stream of the
pleasure-inducing chemical dopamine, which will help make your mind more
resistant to stress in general, says Willis. Plus, when you're feeling brain
dead, you can think about your latest accomplishment for a restorative effect,
This is an edited version of this article. The full version,
with advice on how to cope, can be found in the Women’s Health magazine (June
issue, now on sale).
(Photo of happy woman from Shutterstock)