Mind & Mood: How to Protect Your Brain from Stress

Mind & Mood: How to Protect Your Brain from Stress

April marks Stress Awareness Month which is a time to recognise the causes of stress and what can be done to minimise its negative effects on the body. Recent research highlights the profound impact stress can have on brain function, from inflammation, to changes in cognitive structure. Stress management is integral not only for our mood, but for our overall brain health. Read on for simple lifestyle changes that can help you mitigate the impacts of stress to help keep your brain healthy.


It seems like a no brainer (pardon the pun!) but regular exercise is paramount to keeping the negative effects of stress at bay to promote overall brain health. During stressful moments, your body releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that turn on a 'fight or flight' response thus putting the body on high alert. High levels of these hormones prolonged by stress can have negative effects on the brain and body over time such as changes in cognition that lead to anxiety and depression, high blood pressure and the formation of artery-clogging deposits.[1]

Exercise is a powerful tool to combat this as it reduces these stress hormones whilst promoting the release of endorphins which are natural chemicals in the brain that help improve mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. These mood-boosting neurotransmitters may be easier to reach than you expect with a recent YouGov study finding that the average time for British adults who exercise three times a week to experience a natural high from exercise is just nine minutes and 44 seconds.[2] Find a form of exercise that suits you - whether it's something low intensity like swimming or a brisk walk, or maybe you prefer running or a cardio workout, regularly moving will reduce stress, keep your brain healthy and make you feel good. 


Eating a healthy and balanced diet with specific brain-boosting nutrients is often overlooked when it comes to managing stress and maintaining a healthy brain. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and chard all contain folate which is a vitamin that helps produce feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. In times of stress, the body uses vitamin C to produce cortisol so it is important to consume natural sources of vitamin C where possible to keep the body balanced. Citrus fruits such as oranges a great source of this vitamin, alongside other foods like blackcurrants, strawberries and peppers.

Ensuring you are supplementing high quality nutrients, particularly those that our body doesn't make, is a great way to care for your brain health and wider wellness. B vitamins such as vitamin B6 and B12 are important for the production of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals in the brain that regulate mood and anxiety. They can help to reduce stress and promote a sense of calm. Research has found that zinc can also help regulate the body's stress response by lowering cortisol levels and promoting relaxation.

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Wellness Tips to Alleviate Stress

We all know there's more to managing stress and improving your mood than just exercise, supplements and a healthy diet. In current times where having a work life balance can be difficult, it's important to take those small moments and acknowledge what really makes you feel wonderful. As part of our ongoing mission to find out what wellness means to you, we've brought together a collective of inspiring women to find out about their daily wellness routines. All with different stories to be told, click here to discover what our collective have to say and why they look and feel wonderful with seaweed.

[1] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response
[2] https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/exercise-endorphin-high-time-how-long-motivation-study-10-minutes-wiggle-a8325661.html
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