Living with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease brings with it, many changes to your life, but it also places many demands on your life that are very stressful. Too much stress, can be overwhelming and via the ‘cortisol connection’, causes neurotoxic damage to the brain cells in your hippocampus that are connected to your short-term memory. When cortisol levels are persistently high such as in chronic stress, levels of certain neurotransmitters are reduced, and the suppression of neurogenesis is induced. Therefore, taking steps to reduce and manage the amount of stress in your daily life is a very important component of any strategy that is designed to help you manage Alzheimer’s disease.
In terms of reducing the amount of stress in my life, I will often try to plan ahead, so as to avoid any potential triggers and if you understand your own personal boundaries and limits, it’s easier to say ‘no’ when un-realistic expectations are placed on you. Also, on a daily basis, I make use of a lot of stress reduction techniques such as meditation, undertaking physical activity, deep breathing, listening to music, eating healthy, working in the garden and getting enough quality sleep.