Stress Causes Brain Damage
The other day, a friend of mine admitted he was feeling stressed. That same day, he made a big decision to take a social media sabbatical.
According to Dr. Richard Restak, author of Mozart's Brain and the Fighter Pilot, my friend's decision is probably a good idea. Because stress causes brain damage.
Of course, when we're living in a stressed-out condition, we don't perceive the death of our brain cells. Yet we do feel the little deaths all around... of our sanity, of the health of our relationships, of our physical well-being. So why do we persist in our approach?
Maybe it's because we believe in the myth of multi-tasking. We think our brain can pay attention to multiple things at a time. Says molecular biologist John Medina, author of Brain Rules, "Businesses and schools praise multi-tasking, but research clearly shows that it reduces productivity and increases mistakes."
The statistics are startling. Medina shares, "Studies show that a person who is interrupted [supposedly multi-tasking] takes 50 percent longer to accomplish a task. Not only that, he or she makes up to 50 percent more errors." Some of the most dangerous scenarios? Talking on a cell-phone while driving (it's like driving drunk).
But back to our ordinary, non-vehicular lives. A mom or dad trying to muster energy to prepare healthy meals. Parents searching for patience with little ones. A young woman trying to make it through another day at the office. What does it cost to try to multi-task, when in fact the brain isn't designed to do that?
Stress. Invisible brain damage. And maybe some damage to things that aren't so invisible.
Medina recommends, "Try creating an interruption-free zone during the day— turn off your e-mail, phone, IM program, or BlackBerry— and see whether you get more done." And see, I would add, if your stress begins to fade away.
Quotes from Brain Rules are from p.93, 87, 93. Salvador Dali artwork photo taken in Paris at Espace Dali, by L.L. Barkat.
Stress-Free Black-Eyed Peas
On a night when I'm looking for something really simple, this dish is a great choice.
Saute until lightly browned...
• red onion, chopped chunky
Add and saute about 5 minutes...
• 1/2 tsp cumin (add spices before tomatoes, so they dissolve in oil)
• 1/2 tsp fennel seed
• 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 TB soy "bacuns"
• garlic, minced
• two fresh tomatoes, chopped (or one small can)
Add and saute until thickened...
• 2 cups dry (soaked and then cooked) or two to three cans black-eyed peas
Toss in some fresh chives and or chopped parsley. Drizzle with olive oil.
Serve over rice or with crusty bread, green beans and salad. Relax and enjoy. : )