Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ruts Are Real
Apparently, stress brings on changes in the brain that compel us to seek routines and habits, even the ones that bring on stress in the first place.
...researchers have discovered that the sensation of being highly stressed can rewire the brain in ways that promote its sinister persistence.
“Behaviors become habitual faster in stressed animals than in the controls, and worse, the stressed animals can’t shift back to goal-directed behaviors when that would be the better approach,” Dr. [Nuna] Sousa said....

Robert Sapolsky, a neurobiologist who studies stress at Stanford University School of Medicine, said, “This is a great model for understanding why we end up in a rut, and then dig ourselves deeper and deeper into that rut.”
There's a little bit of hope though. With the removal of the stressors, the effects on the brain are reversible. Good luck with that.

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