Do you want to know how your brain has changed during lockdown?
Studies conducted on people who have experienced isolation have shown that some brain structures change due to a lack of social interactions. Here are the three most important:
THE PREFRONTAL CORTEX – Raise a hand and place it over your eyebrows: there is the prefrontal cortex. This piece of the brain that has recently developed in humans. We need it to perform essential tasks, such as correctly planning a strategy to deal with a problem. But it is also responsible for our personality traits and correct social conduct. Studies show that people subjected to prolonged isolation experience a reduction in the prefrontal cortex’s volume (i.e. the space it occupies in the skull decreases), translating into an increase in bad decisions making questions and an increase in anti-social behavior.
THE HIPPOCAMPUS – plays a vital role in our life: it is responsible for forming memories, allowing us to preserve the information we acquire in long-term memory. Individuals undergoing isolation may experience decreased concentrations of the Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a type of protein that powers neurons in the central nervous system. Unfortunately, isolation negatively impacts these factors, which translates into a reduction in learning ability. Even the cortisol levels, the stress hormone, rise due to stress, which damages our hippocampus more and more.
THE AMYGDALA – is an almond-shaped structure located in front of the hippocampus. It is the brain organ responsible for managing emotions, especially fear. A correlation found between the breadth of a person’s social network and his amygdala. Therefore, prolonged isolation changes the structure of the amygdala and makes it smaller.
Fortunately, isolation is a temporary condition, but it is curious to understand how external conditions can change our interior. We need to realise how our behaviors and habits affect our minds in ways we don’t even understand. Taking care of your psycho-fiscal well-being must, therefore become a priority for all of us.
Some of the most effective methods are:
– Practice meditation, or breathing exercises
– Keep a journal
– Walking in the fresh air
Small daily changes can improve our lives and protect our minds during lockdown.
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