What are stress and anxiety?

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We will see what the neurobiology of stress is like, what brain areas generate it, its impact on the body and what triggers this neuronal response. We will also see how specific stress is positive and makes us more effective and sharpen neural resources. The negative aspect of stress is its ability to become chronic (due to social habits, but also due to the addiction that it produces), we will see what consequences it has on the different organs of the body.

[Music] [Sound] one of the contributions that neuroscience is making to neuroscience is making to well-being is that understanding   mechanisms, understanding the function of certain mental  mental processes helps us to understand them but   also helps us to discover what we can do with them

  with them not this is what for example masters   as culadasa talk about the obstacles the antidote and many times we don't meet them

   mental processes that we think that they only have a negative  have a negative aspect that they are just   an obstacle to understanding what the function is because  they don't appear and that they are intended not in us because we are   it helps to decipher to catalog a little bit of the antidote  that each one of us find in particular because the   neuroscience the neurobiology of stress I think has contributed a lot to  that it has contributed a lot to what is the well-being and   to design the techniques that help us the most with stress we always  stress we always think that we resort not to the   synonyms that a stress is negative but nevertheless stress has an aspect that is  stress however has an aspect that is very   positive you have to know what distinguishes it and you have to  distinguish between the stress that is the stress that is the deu stress   and the eustress the eustress is positive the stress eustress we need it for example let's imagine the case of a   accident of an explosion of something not that frightens us are the mechanisms that are activated instantaneously   in our body so that we can cope with that situation and it is important to say that   are almost automatic that are instantaneous because  if our brain didn't have that ability to   take control of our consciousness many times we would not  many times we wouldn't be able to decipher the solution   when faced with a problem, eustress is what causes us to become  us to activate ourselves before a situation and therefore   also put many neural mechanisms for it here there is a researcher that emphasizes that it is  Judson A

Brewer who has some studies that are very curious there are many people who are addicted to it   to stress this is one of the things that he has studied but there is one  studied but there's one of the approaches no longer   that I think affects us all the most on a day to day basis and that is  day to day and that is to discover that dependency that we have   of stress as an activator of our cognitive resources

  cognitive resources, what does that mean because we imagine   that we have to perform a task  for example handing in a paper many times   we wait until the last minute because as Judson A

Brewer says many times we resort to that stress that   we have to deliver a job at the last minute because we know that stress is going to  because we know that that stress is going to   sharpen our intelligence and it's true that a stressful stress that we normally  stress the stress that we normally experience   in our society it is not so much physical it is not so much of a  so much of a threat that we encounter in the   street as many researchers say the stress of today's  of today comes in an email not so much as jobs that   we have to deliver your problems that we have  that we have to solve in our teams and that's what   that we often resort to that last minute moment when we're feeling overwhelmed

   when faced with the responsibility of having to deliver a job  a job because we know that we are going to   to increase our creativity, our capacity of concentration  of concentration and above all our ability to   task solving then that is where we can find ourselves in our  we can find ourselves in our   experience with that positive aspect that has  stress sharpens our creativity we can   to our benefit but as many researchers say we are also at risk  many researchers say we are also at risk   when we abuse it but there is another factor that is negative which is the  that is negative and that is stress and one of the most important   most negative aspects of stress today is not so much the stress  is not so much the stress but the fact that it has become chronic

  according to the last study that was published  a few months ago that always talk about   the statistics of how we perceive our life  what percentage of stress we have in our life   well approximately 75% of the population in developed countries consider themselves to have stress

   chronic and perhaps the most used phrase is to do everything in a hurry  is to do everything in a hurry not having time   not to stop this as it makes societies feel mostly tired but  mostly feel tired but most of all, they feel   that we have to habituate our body to a level of stress like Judson A

Brewer himself says and it's one of the most recognized things in neuroscience that our  neuroscience our brain and our body in   in general it's a habit system our body gets used to the regimen that we give it

   it's not a being of habit if we get it used to  that level of stress and that's what it's going to end up with

   and this is important because we know from neuroscience that we  we know from neuroscience that we have a great   neuroplasticity we have the great capacity to  change our brain structures both   at the functional level as well as at the anatomical level but we can  but to change them as ramón y cajal himself said   requires a strong intention we all can be sculptors of our own brain  can be sculptors of our own brain if we are willing to   but what happens when we have been living with chronic stress for years and years what we have been doing for years?   different studies have shown is that it affects our overall health one of the researchers   most prominent or perhaps recognized as the world's foremost  the world's foremost expert on stress is a   character that is very far from the figure that we could have of someone stressed  we might have of someone who is stressed   it's robert sapolsky who is in college  in california is a being like very very relaxed

   very relaxed very nice and a great popularizer a great writer with very interesting books and him   is not the first who began to study the biological  biological effects of stress you are a great   advocate that we can't separate mind and body any behavior that we have any   mental state has a bodily correlate many times we  sometimes we think that a moment of overwhelm or living in a   our life stressfully is a state that is a state that is  mental so it's something that is kind of ephemeral that our   body because it practically doesn't notice any mental state brings with it a bodily state that is what   sapolsky has been trying to defend for many years everything everything has a behavior one   part that is organic does not mean that one causes the other

  the other are related body and mind the doctor   sapolsky who develops therefore all his activity  at the university spends a few months a year always   in africa has been one of the great scholars of the primate  the primates of the societies how they are organized   how they live among them and many years ago  he made a great study which is the one that popularized   chronic stress as one of the greatest enemies of our society by studying the population of the   baboons from those of the primates he realized that he  the hierarchy that existed among them, and the the pressures to which they were subjected, the dangers they were  the dangers to which they were then subjected to saw   that the different hierarchies of the primate groups, there were  there were some hierarchies some parts of the primate groups

   some animals that were suffering from what we might  call some stress levels and so it became   a biological analysis because he would take blood and saliva samples  blood and saliva samples and then he was able to dissect the   the animals when they were already dead and what he came to  came to and it was one of the first ones that was   first scientific evidence that stress produces biological changes  produces biological changes and that it affects our   life-long health was to discover, for example, the presence of ulcers in those primates that have   had large doses of stress also saw that they reproduced  they reproduced much less than they had problems   cardiovascular he's the one that found that living with chronic stress  with a chronic stress not that the stress is our own

   partner throughout life molds our body towards a direction  body in a direction that is very pathological   we have to take into account a concept that is not very much in  very much in vogue today in neuroscience at   medicine in general, and that is that many times diseases have cycles that are very slow

   subclinical that means that there is something that could be  may be fragmenting in our body but that is not   it's subclinical we can't detect it it's silent to  all the methods of preventive medicine but   it takes years over the years it takes years over the years it takes years over the years it takes years over the years it takes years over the years it takes years over the years it takes years over the years it takes years over the years it takes years over the years and   when it becomes clinical is when it can already be medically detected is when it already manifests the   first symptoms and then many times it is difficult  or sometimes impossible to do something, this is one of the most important   pillars of preventive medicine and that's where the concept of stress comes in

  the concept of stress comes into this study   that sapolsky did was done in primates  and there was no longer much talk about the influences that   stress has on our biology in medicine

  he was one of the first of the great advocates   of preventive medicine of lifestyle medicine  lifestyle medicine wellness medicine how   how to prevent disease rather than cure it  than curing it but there was a study that was already   well key because it's already moved into the realm of human beings  human beings that was developed in London it was called the   whitehall project because it was developed in this  London borough and there was a team of physicians   from the london public health hospital  who for years recorded the activity of   40 thousand civil servants which meant that only the civil servants  the civil servants because they wanted to see how it influenced lifestyle and in particular stress on their health was a study that was longitudinal the same people   followed over the years for many years the fact that they were all civil servants  years that they were all civil servants had the   peculiarity that they were all covered  by a health care system they are all people   who enjoy a job that is stable do not go through these cyclical  go through these cyclical episodes at best

   of layoffs and uncertainty, which is more prevalent in the  more in the rest of the population than in the rest of the   more or less shared more or less the same socioeconomic requirements but within the same socioeconomic requirements but within the same socioeconomic requirements but within the same socioeconomic requirements but within the same socioeconomic requirements but within the same socioeconomic requirements but within   of it within the civil servants because we know that there are different  that there are different hierarchies the result to which we   the white hall project in london came up with was that  that those officials of lower rank   were the ones with the highest levels of stress  this same thing had been found by sapolsky with the   primates those primates that belonged to the most  hierarchy more to the most basic class of the   hierarchy were also those who suffered more stress

  the lower ranking officials were more stressed

were the most stressed and what came out of this longitudinal  in this longitudinal project was that they were the ones who   presented more clinical incidences, this study  study made it possible to decipher which were the ones that   consequences of chronic stress on our health

  health that this study and so many other studies   others that have been replicated so many times is that chronic stress in our lives  chronic stress in our life because it causes us to   cardiovascular alterations the presence of ulcers  of ulcers, intestinal alterations nowadays in   thanks to studies of the microbiota and the influence of the intestine  influence that the intestine has on the brain   and the brain on the intestine we know that cortisol which is the  cortisol which is the hormone that we release   when we are stressed it affects a lot the microbiota and therefore  microbiota and therefore all those functions   that regulate the microbiota but it's also been seen that stress influences  that stress influences the cognitive impairment   and this is a result which was also striking  that showed that those people who had   stress in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease  Alzheimer's disease were also those who had   more likely to progress in the progression of alzheimer's disease  of alzheimer's disease stress is to be considered as the   to say that it also produces neuroinflammation in the  neuroinflammation is a process that hampers the   evolution of a disease or the recovery of a disease  a disease as for example it can be in the   case of brain damage and I would like to talk about Dr

Sili's lee who is perhaps the one who gave the   name to the word stress is the one who calls him  for the first time this whole phenomenon the   Dr

Selye said a phrase that I think is key to understanding  is key to understanding what is neuroscience

   and as harvard university later said the power  harvard university later said the power that the   selye told him that it is not stress that kills us but how we  stress that kills us but how we react to stress

   Dr

Selye was working in a hospital in neurology and he realized  neurology and he noticed that the patients were   recovered sooner had fewer incidences of  presence in the emergency room when they enjoyed   an atmosphere of tranquility in their recovery  thanks to these works and many other works   I have seen that stress is key to recovery for example I have seen that one of the  recovery for example I have one of the things   I think the most beautiful and the one that has most influenced the  the neuroscience of well-being is the presence of   noise the constant noise that for example we have  in the big cities when it is constant as well as the   stress we have already normalized it, we have to take into account that the  that the brain always perceives the changes   when something is constant it is already in the background  and we don't notice it but that doesn't mean that we don't   means that it doesn't process the noises that we're constantly hearing  constantly hearing as we already hear them   we always let them go unnoticed we don't pay attention to them  we are not attentive to them but nevertheless they are being   processing noise generates a very strong chronic stress, it has been  has been seen to affect our processes   cognitive processes has studied schools that are close to airports  of airports and schools that are in environments   much quieter environments and it has been found to affect a child's learning  the learning abilities of a child but   in the case of recovery which is what Dr

Selye saw when people were  doctor selye when people were around   of green spaces close to nature in  silence factors that greatly reduce our   stress the recovery was much more favorable was much faster had much less incidences of that was the first time that stress had been deciphered

  stress as a treatment also for an emergency   disease nowadays I think that almost all  doctors advise in any given episode to   to favor the evolution of a disease to reduce stress levels  reduce the stress levels and this comes into   of what is the humanization of the medicine the  psychosomatic aspect of that reaction, that reaction   of stress it is also true that we need the  stress in a situation such as for example the   the news of an illness and why what positive part  positive part has been seen that stress has when   we are given a news of that kind of that kind because it makes us  motivates us to take care of ourselves and that's where it's towards   where to direct the stress what the studies say  the studies the influence that stress has   on the brain because it has been widely  catalogued and we could distinguish it or classify it   in three ways it's been seen that chronic stress and  not punctual chronic stress chronic anxiety chronic anxiety   causes our prefrontal cortex to atrophy

  we have seen that the prefrontal cortex is key   for the mechanisms of attention is key to the regulation of our behavior  the regulation of our behavior for the   inhibition which is perhaps the most complex area of our brain where the most  our brain where they are more involved in   executive functions as we control our behavior

  our behavior, people with a stressful   that what we see in a neuroimaging experiment is atrophied

  we see in a neuroimaging experiment we put in a person in the machine and we see how their brain is  brain we have to say that there are times when we have   problems we don't have to calibrate the machine because the machine can't detect well certain zones   of the brain and what we are observing  is that there are people that have certain parts frontal atrophy is an atrophy that is very frequently found in the  atrophy that is very frequently found in   people who have had stress for many years there is no need to be many years with a period of   stress we begin to suffer from atrophy in the frontal parts of our brain

  frontal parts of our brain another part of our brain   that our brain atrophies due to chronic stress are the hippocampi

  chronic stress are the hippocampus the hippocampus which is the   the area most involved in the key memory and of course in the  of course in the development of Alzheimer's disease

   Alzheimer's disease because it's also been seen to atrophy  by the chronic stress we see that there's a loss of   neurons in the different layers that form the hippocampus  the hippocampus losing memory capacity   it is practically to lose the identity of oneself this does so it leads us to problems of regulation   emotional apart from the cognitive deterioration losing memory loss loss of attention loss of knowing where I am   but above all it leads to a great sense of dissatisfaction there is a dissatisfaction  of dissatisfaction, there is a disidentification with   and this is very important because it is not necessary to reach pathological levels of atrophy of the   hippocampus with a little bit of atrophy we already start to have this discomfort that affects more to the   which is the mental health in one of the first stages but another factor that we have seen is   that chronic stress produces hypertrophy in the amygdala and  the amygdala and the hypertrophy that signifies   because the amygdala which is a structure that belongs to the emotional  belongs to the emotional systems of our   brain and it is the one that gives that emotional content  is the one that responds when we have a lot of stress   it's the one that responds when we have a lot of anxiety and an enlarged amygdala so much functionally   as well as in size makes us to be people that a permanent dissatisfaction that we are very reactive

   and with a reaction with almost always very aggressive teeth  very aggressive this is obviously synonymous with   and above all the relaxation of discomfort in interpersonal relationships  interpersonal relationships because the stress   chronic stress produces hypertrophy that is to say it dilates  there are studies that are very very beautiful and I believe   that they would not be very much invited to the reflection that  is chronic stress in children chronic stress in children chronic stress in children chronic stress in children chronic stress in children chronic stress in children chronic stress in children chronic stress in children chronic stress in children   he he during childhood development has not only been seen to be influenced by serious problems   not as studies have been done for example on how it affects stress in children living in orphanages   or who have gone through family misfortunes those  are cases that are clinically separate but there are   a case that affects a I think a considerable percentage of society  percentage of the society and it's like children   absorb the stress of the parents there is no need for these episodes  there is no need for these particularly dramatic episodes   in the lives but the stress that the mom instills in the dad's  the mother to the father to the environment the child lives with   absorbed by that stress that the child becomes accustomed to living with  to live with also modulates the child's brain there it is   it has been seen that children that are accompanied  who live in stressful environments increase their   amygdala an increase in the amygdala during neurodevelopmental  neurodevelopment is key to the evolution of the amygdala

   is key for learning, but above all it is key for the  above all it is key to the formation of the amygdala

   of the identity that they are making this  is one of the factors that has been shown to have   major long term consequences for example  hypertrophy of the amygdala in children does   that when they reach adolescence, which is one of the most critical  the most critical periods in the neurodevelopmental   because this is when the curves of brain evolution are  brain evolution curves, because there can be presence of   of psychotic episodes of alterations that already affect much more  affect the health much more serious therefore I would  I think that taking care of stress in the family environment  is not only a personal thing that affects the individual   who has the stress but as a mom and as a dad  because we know that it's very difficult to contain stress

   stress that everyone lives and that especially the children  children that are absolute reflections of what they live

   that they learn that they memorize that they are practically mirrors of the environment during the first years so we are instilling stressful behavior but not only that but we are  not only that but we are molding their brain

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