DR. KRISSY MEDICAL NEUROSCIENTIST and COLLEGE PROFESSOR
TODAY’S TOPIC: Are You Burned Out?
Helping others is good but you can’t help if you have nothing to give.
In a world that values being busy and available, sometimes at the cost of your own happiness, I am here to tell you, it is not good for your brain or your health.
Burnout can physically change the anatomy and function of your brain.
Symptoms of burnout included extreme fatigue, loss of passion and motivation, a growing sense of emotional depletion, cynicism and negativity.
Research has found that key brain areas in emotion control and executive functioning are not communicating as well as they should in individuals who are burnt out.
Burned out individuals show weaker working connections between the amygdala (which is our fear and negative emotion processing area) and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), a structure involved in sophisticated problem solving functions. So this might be the reason why individuals who feel burnout experience brain fog and difficulty controlling their negative emotions.
The brain also structurally looks different in individuals who are burnt out. In fact, their brains show signs of chronic stress.
Our cortex, the outer layer of our brain, gets thinner with age. This natural and perfectly fine. However in chronic stress and in individuals who are burnt out the medial prefrontal cortex, which I mentioned it responsible for sophisticated problem solving shows pronounced thinning and accelerated aging.
The amygdala (our fear and negative emotion processing area) and other brain structures that are susceptible to neurotoxins show signs of wear, tear, and shrinkage.
The point here is your brain changes how it looks and works when you are burned it. Being burnt out is not good for your brain and you will definitely feel it physically.
If you feel burnout today, make sure and engage in some self-care, figure out new strategies to share and address the load, and begin to set boundaries.
I hope you found this helpful. Take care.