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Stress and the Brain

             Stress, induced by either day-to-day environmental factors or by a traumatic event, can either harm or positively affect the brain and the body. Stress caused by day-to-day environmental factors damages the brain slowly over a long period of time. After a while we break down due to a build up of stress. A break down may consist of a nervous breakdown, acute depression, and/or suicidal thoughts.
             Stress caused by a traumatic event or near death experience can cause significant immediate and long-term damage to the brain. This kind of stress may cause the portion of the brain that controls learning and fear responses to shrink. This shrunken portion of the brain may cause the person to experience PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). This kind of stress may also cause a person to have intense reactions to sights, smells, and sounds associated with the traumatic event.
             The immediate stress that is induced by a traumatic event causes the brain to supply the maximum amount of energy to the parts of the body that are required to deliver the person out of the event. That stress also causes large amounts of adrenaline to be released into the blood stream, causing muscles to deliver greater performance. On the other hand, that same stress, in the long term, may cause heart disease or stroke.
             Stress is a natural part of our lives. In the right amount and intensity stress can motivate us to reach goals. In the wrong amount though, stress can be incredibly harmful to both the brain and the body.
             I would present this information in such a way as to motivate people to take an active role in controlling their stress levels. I would focus more on the negative side of stress and on ways to lessen or relieve it. I would use both visual and auditory methods of presentation, most likely with a PowerPoint presentation accompanied by a lecture.

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