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7 Shocking Ways Stress Can Physically Change Your Brain

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Bustle.com

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In small doses, stress can motivate you to get things done and, under more dire circumstances, can even help keep you safe. But when stress becomes chronic, you may start to experience all sorts of side effects and symptoms as a result. And, rather shockingly, stress can even cause physical changes in your brain.

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"High levels of cortisol that can build up with chronic stress can wear down the brain’s ability to function normally," Dr. Diane Amstutz, PhD, psychologist at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, tells Bustle. And that can change your brain in a pretty shocking way.

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As Dr. Amstutz says, "It can literally kill brain cells and even reduce the size of the brain [...] and can also shrink the pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain involved in self-control and emotional regulation.”

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