Learn, Share, Grow - Negative Thoughts Speed Up Brain Aging

February 13, 2023

Below is a lesson from Study Fines on how negative thoughts may affect brain aging and neurodegeneration, as well as our key learnings.

The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth.  We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”.  We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning.  As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.

Get a hold of yourself: Negative thoughts speed up brain aging, neurodegeneration

by John Anderer

GENEVA — Some people tend to be more emotionally open than others, but pretty much everyone has to face their feelings at some time or another. Negative emotions, anxiety, or the occasional bout of depression may be unavoidable in life, but fascinating new findings show how managing emotions can help limit neurodegeneration and slow down brain aging.

Neuroscientists at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) observed how the brains of both young and older adults activated when confronted with the psychological suffering of others. Among older study subjects, neuronal connections displayed significant emotional inertia. In other words, negative emotions felt by those older adults appear to have excessively modified their neuronal connections over an extended period of time. This trend was most pronounced in the posterior cingulate cortex and the amygdala. Both of those brain regions are strongly involved in managing emotions and autobiographical memory.

Study authors explain that these results indicate better management of negative emotions, via meditation for example, may help curb neurodegeneration. This work is just the latest in modern science’s efforts to better understand the brain; researchers have been investigating how the brain reacts to emotions for the past two decades.

Continue reading here.

Key Learnings:

  • Study found that negative emotions appear to to have excessively modified neuronal connections over an extended period of time.
  • Better management of negative emotions, ex via meditation, may help curb neurodegeneration.
    The capacity to change one’s emotions in a quick manner can benefit mental health.
  • Those who are unable to regulate their emotions, and this remain in the same emotional state for longer periods are usually at a higher risk of depression.
  • Changes in connectivity between the posterior cingulate cortex (processes autobiographical memory) and the amygdala (processes important emotional stimuli) suggest a deviation in the normal aging process, accentuated among those who show more anxiety, rumination, and negative emotions, which could indicate the presence of these symptoms could increase neurodegenerative disease risk, like dementia.

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