In numerous different animals, cognitive ability, including learning and memory, is often negatively affected by stress. But not all individuals of a particular species are equally good at cognitive tasks to begin with, and they respond to the effects of stress in different ways. 
 
Take pond snails – specifically Lymnaea stagnalis – for example. They, just like other animals (including humans), remember things about different aspects of their environment. They remember smells that are associated with good things to eat, for instance, as well as negative experiences which may be associated with the risk of being eaten themselves. But not all snails are equally good at remembering. Some snail populations, originating from different rivers or ditches, are much better at forming memories than others. 
Teachers are taking absence due to stress. Following a freedom of information request to Bexley Council in London, it was revealed that a total of 297 days were lost to stress. There has been widespread reporting on excessive teacher workloads but what should schools do about it? 
 
Bexley Council revealed how many teachers were required to take time out to recover from stress following a freedom of information request. 
 
The authority was asked for the most recent data for “the number of teachers on long-term stress leave during the last year.” The council said: “In maintained schools 11 teachers were absent in the past year due to stress including depression and anxiety. The total days lost were 297.” 
 
"Fibre is [a] stress beater," states The Sun, while the Mail Online says: "high fibre diets may make you less stressed because your gut affects your brain". Both are reporting on a study that explored whether eating more fibre might help the body to combat stress. 
 
The researchers were particularly interested in the potential role of short-chain fatty acids. These are small molecules produced when the digestive system breaks down high-fibre foods, such as fruits and vegetables. They are known to have a beneficial effect on biological processes such as the metabolism and immune system. So, the researches researchers wanted to see if these effects could also relieve stress. 
 
 
Cortisol is the body's primary stress hormone, and it plays a role in many bodily functions. 
 
Cortisol also plays a role in: 
regulating the body's sleep-wake cycles 
managing how the body utilises carbohydrates, fats, and proteins 
reducing inflammation 
controlling blood pressure 
 
Here are some practical ways of lowering cortisol levels to help ensure that your body is able to manage stress levels. 
 

Why high cortisol levels are a problem 

The body relies on effective communication between the following three parts of the body to release the correct amount of cortisol: 
the adrenal gland, controls many different hormones 
the pituitary gland, the master gland of the body 
the hypothalamus, links the nervous system to your hormones 
 
Between them, they stimulate the production of cortisol when the body needs it and block it when the levels need to drop back down. 
 
Both too much and too little cortisol can have an adverse effect on the body. 
 

High cortisol level symptoms 

Too much cortisol can cause the following symptoms: 
fatigue 
impaired brain function 
weak immune system 
changes in mood, such as feeling irritable or low 
rapid weight gain in the face and abdomen 
 

Natural ways to lower cortisol 

People trying to lower their cortisol levels should aim to reduce stress. 
 
You can do this by removing yourself from stressful situations or learning how to cope with stress better. 
 
You can learn to recognise the triggers for stress and try to manage these proactively to reduce instances of worry or anxiety and decrease feelings of tension. 
 
People who learn how to cope when stressful thoughts arise will manage their cortisol levels better. 
 
If you are concerned about your stress levels and the impact that it is having on your health and performance, book a discovery session with Paula Ruane. 
Apologies for the cynicism but Simon Cowell not using his mobile phone recently is like Gwyneth Paltrow saying that she doesn’t see the need for housework. Someone is doing this stuff for them. It would have been far more impressive if Simon Cowell had restricted the use of phones by his staff. “The 58-year-old said that he had become infuriated by industry meetings in which everyone’s eyes were glued to their handsets”. Him and me both! 
 
We're all irritated when we're with others and they constantly check their phones. It's rude, disrespectful and largely unnecessary. What is worse, most aren’t even aware they're doing it. 
Are you one of the 1.5 million Brits taking sleeping tablets because of sleep problems? Poor sleep, which over time, leads to fatigue, reduced short-term memory recall, irritability, anxiety and lack of focus. 
It is now known that any light but, in particular “blue light” (from TV, mobile, laptop and tablet screens) interferes with sleep. Worse still, research shows that it may contribute to the causation of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. 
 
Blue wavelengths—which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood—seem to be the most disruptive at night. 
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