The preservation, strengthening, and prevention of mental health is of great importance for a healthy lifestyle. The psycho-emotional state is one of the determining factors in our health, which is manifested in the ability to control emotions, think positively, maintain a balance between spiritual and physical development. A mentally healthy person adequately evaluates reality, shows interest in the world around him. Moreover, he coordinates his behavior and reaction to what is happening with environmental conditions and is capable of introspection and reflection. Mental health is not only the absence of mental disorders because it is determined comprehensively through the analysis of numerous social, psychological, and biological factors. For example, deterioration of mental health associates with rapid social changes, stressful conditions at work, at home, social exclusion, risks of psychological and physical abuse.
A person cannot 100% manage and adjust the degree of influence of a stressful state on him. Researchers at UC Berkeley have discovered that short-term stress can help shake the brain, but chronic long-term stress harms our brains and inhibits the development of intellectual abilities. Acute stress puts the human body and mind in a state of alert, a natural reaction to danger. When this happens, the stress hormone cortisol is released into the bloodstream, helping people manage negative situations, providing the body with energy. It increases our tolerance to pain and improves memory. This mechanism is beneficial because all the strength of our body and brain mobilizes. Researchers have determined that acute stress stimulates neurogenesis, the formation of new neural cells from stem cells located in mind. Such short-term stress enhances the synthesis of a specific substance, which provokes the growth of new neurons.
What happens in the brain when external events or internal thoughts stress us? An action or emotion changes the activity of the brain, either enhancing or weakening the chains of neurons along with gradually turning on or off certain neural strings. The interaction between neurons occurs both due to electrical impulses and through the use of specific chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters facilitate the transmission of neural impulses. The state of stress stimulates the human body to produce the hormone cortisol, a neurotransmitter.
Consider two situations that will help to understand the difference in stressful situations and their impact on the mental health of the individual. The first example is eustress, a definite form of stress. Michael takes part in running sports, so the body releases a dose of the stress hormone adrenaline to show the best result. Increasing its level in the blood helps the body mobilize, improves attention, reactions, and leads a person to a little stress. The second case is distress, and it is a destructive process that worsens the course of psychophysiological functions. Such exertion can translate into mental illnesses such as neurosis, psychosis, or depression. John has a long conflict with his direction at work, for about a month, he has been given more tasks, and boss shows disrespect for him. A similar situation can outgrow for a man from simple stress to depression.
Stress is a normal adaptive response of an organism to environmental changes. It becomes abnormal when your body continually feels threatened; thus, chronic stress appears. So if you cannot control the amount of “bad” stress in your life, change your lifestyle so that it does not have such a destructive effect on the body. We cannot avoid stressful situations, but we can create an environment that does not cause unpleasant conditions. Besides, we must develop the ability to not respond to stressful events that make us lose our balance. Only control of our own emotions can protect the brain from damage.