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The effects of stress on the brain if left unmanaged.

Our psychosocial colleague at SEPAR International, Zahra Juma, has recently written an article in Secure Magazine

In this article, Zahra talks about the meaning of stress and how the brain is affected by unmanaged stress which in turn can affect your ability to perceive, anticipate and understand threats.

It is imperative that we learn to manage stress especially in hostile and stressful environments.

Zahra focuses on helpful stress versus unhelpful stress. Helpful or acute stress is mostly short term and can be managed and predicted enabling us to complete our responsibilities. Along with this there are situations where stress is required, as helpful stress increases alertness and quick response to threats.

Adversely, unhelpful, or long-lasting stress begins when situations become persistent, unpredictable, and unmanageable.

Zahra goes on to explain that part of the brain adapts to cope with stressful environments when the brain is constantly open to real or perceived threats making some parts of the brain more hyperactive. This makes our brain change how it thinks, making it difficult to concentrate and focus and make decisions effectively. It also reduces our tolerance for minor stresses and affects our memory with retaining and retrieving information.

We learn from Zahra’s article that we are able to manage stress to improve situational awareness by assessing our current stress levels. Stress affects individuals differently and we can use self-awareness tools, such as the Perceived Stress Scale to assess our current stress levels. For those who work constantly in hostile environments or situations, managing stress is key.

Those individuals should regularly practice regulating their bodies stress response before stressful situations occur to calm their stress response. Breathing is the rapidest way of dealing with stress response and it is essential we continue to practice this when in hostile situations.

You can get in touch with Zahra to learn more:

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