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Handling Stress


Misknown Member
So, I went down a Ted Talk rabbit hole on Youtube the other day and found what I believe to be helpful videos. For me it helps to understand my brain scientifically, rather than flailing around with some vague notion that I'm inherently a mess and wondering "why am I like this - the universe has some cosmic twisted plan for me (even though I still believe it does)".

Without further ado, How Stress Affects Your Brain (4 mins):


Apparently chronic stress can affect brain size, it's structure and how it functions. Electric signals in your hippocampus, that which is associated with learning memories and stress control, deteriorates. It inhibits the activity of the HPA axis which weakens your ability to control your stress. It further shrinks the prefrontal cortex which regulates behaviors like concentration, decision making and social interaction.

Some talk about genetics and rats.

The guy with the generic voice concludes at the end that the most powerful combatants of stress (and the effects of cortisol on your brain) is Exercise & Meditation.

At an earlier stage in my illness, I would have rolled my eyes at these answers, which read very brochure-y. But I think it's worth looking into, considering how much chronic stress actually affects your brain. And some of its effects can lead to a downward spiral in thinking and eventually depression.

This is particularly useful to me as my body is so stressed out nearly all the time. It's constantly being agitated by pain making it impossible to sleep. When I lack sleep, I become more irritable and irrational and the cycle of stress continues. I think it just helps me feel like no - the brain fog, the memory loss, the inability to concentrate and learn aren't me. It's what's happening to me.

Stress Management:

So for people with chronic pain or physical disabilities, I think anything that reduces that pain - heating pads, cooling pads, pain meds, stretches, massages, can help. Low impact exercise and meditation will help. Calming Tea. Essential oil diffuser (Yes, I know it's not the cure to cancer).

If anyone has additional solutions for managing stress, don't be shy to include them in your reply to this thread.
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✯✯ Heart of an angel ✯✯
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
Hi @the.end.ish Thank you for this very helpful thread.

If anyone has additional solutions for managing stress, don't be shy to include them in your reply to this thread.
Caffeine. It has been proven to heighten anxiety, cause irritability, jittery-ness. My advice would be if you are a caffeine lover don't drink it 4-5 hours before bedtime. Only in the morning would be best.

Hygiene. This is only from personal experience but when I have my hair washed and conditioned and a long soak in the bath I feel less stress, I add lavender oil to the bath which is an oil that provides calmness and tranquility. You can buy lavender oil in any pharmacy or health store, I also use it on my pillows and nightwear, its a very calming scent.

Just my 2 cents :)


Misknown Member
Your 2 cents will be put toward a new lavender oil since I just ran out last night.

But seriously, I've found stress reduction in all the things you mentioned as well.

As for caffeine, I know this study came out about the effects of caffeine on spiders:


We're not spiders but still interesting nonetheless.

Thank you for your additions.


Of dust and shadows
SF Creative
SF Supporter
I rememeber hearing about that study involving psychoactive compounds on spiders and investigating the effects by web spinning. I believe NASA decided to repeat such an experiment which was originally carried out many years prior. The results were practically the same, caffeine producing the most profund effect where it came to web distortion.
The effects of caffeine are caused by it inhibiting the effects of adenosine by receptor blockade. As adenosine is involved in sleep regulation, sufficiently high levels signifies us to hit the pillow and grab some shut eye. Blocking adenosine's CNS inhibitory effects is what causes those excitarory effects to be experinced. As reduced levels of adenosine activity can lead to increased activity of the neurotransmitters, dopamine and glutamte, I'm wondering if this has a part to play in the distorted nature of the webs?

Regarding stress management, looks like most of it has been covered, although I suppose you could also add breathing excercises, mindfulness and biofeedback therapy.


Of dust and shadows
SF Creative
SF Supporter
My personal methods would be playing music, going for a walk or a combination of the two. These are things which act as a distraction and hopefully prevents me from becoming overwhelmed.

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