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The brain does A LOT more than you think it does. It takes care of your physical body and tells

it when to walk, run, breathe, and keep a heart rate. It flexes its muscles to learn, keep tight

of memories, and control emotions. The brain also makes you-well- YOU! It has a personality, it

has goals, and sometimes it wants a break to have fun. The downsides to the brain are that it

knows exactly how to make you hurt inside, and that is normal. There are ups and downs to

mental health. It may seem that there is no one to turn to for help, but you are not alone. Your

brain controls your health, let us learn how to take care of it.



Look out for physical signs

Headachesmigraines, and head rushes all are signs from the brain that the body needs

some help. Normal headaches are usually caused by dehydration, muscle tension, or

fever. These also may result from skipping meals. One of the reasons you should not skip

a meal is because food effects your mood. Glucose is obtained from food and is the main

source of energy for the brain to manage moods. Therefore, skipping a meal will make

your brain receives less energy, making you feel moody and irritated.


Feelings of fatigue or tiredness are manifestations of underlying issues. The brain may be

under stress. When under stress, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. This causes an

increase in cortisol and adrenaline, which prepares your body to deal with the stressor. If

stress is ongoing it takes a toll on your body’s resources, leaving you feeling exhausted.


Look for the social signs

If being around a certain friend group, a certain partner, or other peers causes your heart

to race, that is another signal from the brain trying to communicate with you. This signal

as well as “word vomit” or sweaty hands is the brain saying that this situation may feel

uncomfortable or unfamiliar. These feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious are signs of

anxiety. Although anxiety is normal to experience, it is necessary to listen to it and ask yourself

why this is happening. This is a bodily response to a possible underlying social concern. By

listening to your brain, it may help you better understand yourself and build confidence to

speak up and persevere through these social obstacles.


It is human instinct to want to belong and interact with others. It is a journey to

find the right group of friends that make you feel at your best.

If being around certain people makes you feel exhausted after or have feelings of sadness,

that is a signal from the brain that that interaction may not fill the needs you desire. Those

feeling are valid and okay to experience. Listening to your brain and emotions after a social

interaction is important to your health because the journey of belonging has a long road



Look for personal signs

Technology and social media have become a necessity in daily life. It is just as amazing

as it is harmful. Has scrolling through Instagram or Twitter ever made you feel worse

than when you first opened the app, in a matter of minutes? Possibly feeling small while

comparing yourself to those on the screen or tv show? While feeling that you cannot

stop, even though it hurts sometimes. The signal of feeling sad or developing negative

thoughts is a response the brain is having to the media consumption. In order to take care

of the brain, it must be protected from harmful factors that make you feel negative

emotions. Even though this is easier said than done, you are the one who knows exactly

what hurts and what helps. Social media is just one example of protecting your brain, while

others may be peer pressure or a negative environment.


Although brains are incredible and can hold so much inside themselves, it may feel like you

are trapped in your thoughts. It can become overwhelming and may feel like no one else

could possibly understand how “crazy” you may feel at times. So, to protect your brain you

may need to let other people into it. Asking for help and speaking with others about what

is going on inside can relieve stress and anxiety, by finally letting go of your thoughts. It

may seem scary and vulnerable at first but asking for help is showing strength rather than

weakness. Your brain knows exactly what makes you tick whether it is good or bad, so by

letting others in and communicating can help decipher what are helpful and harmful

signals from your brain.


This article was created by Olivia Meisenbach, a University of Illinois at Chicago student partnering as an Intern for the Always Unstoppable Campaign.


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