Summary of “and how to avoid its effects”

The effects of a healthy, acute stress reaction are mostly temporary, ceasing when a stressful experience is over, and any lasting effects can sometimes leave us better than we were before.
Many of the players in the stress response have so-called “Non-linear dose-dependent actions” meaning their effects change course with prolonged activity.
In the first study of its kind, Ivanka Savic and colleagues at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and Stockholm University recently compared the brains of people suffering from work-related chronic stress to those of healthy, less stressed counterparts using structural magnetic resonance imaging techniques.
To establish whether chronic stress was simply correlated to the changes or had caused the changes in the stressed individuals, the researchers scanned their brains again after a three month-long stress-rehabilitation program based on cognitive therapy and breathing exercises.
Chronic stress has been linked to hypertension and in a small, randomised trial, US researchers, including Lynn Clemow at Columbia University Medical Center, used stress management training to effectively lower systolic blood pressure in patients with hypertension.
The perceptual element of stress may be the reason some mind-body interventions such as yoga, breathing techniques and focused-attention meditation can benefit stress management through effects on improving emotional regulation, reducing stress reactivity and speeding up recovery after stress.
Our dietary habits modify the micro-organisms living in the digestive tract and these micro-organisms, through cross-talk with immune cells and other routes, can influence how the mind reacts to stress.
Early results suggest taking either a single strain or a combination of probiotics may reduce mental fatigue and improve cognitive performance during stress – but not in the absence of stress.

The orginal article.