What burnout is really doing to your brain!

Nov 2022

Shoshanna Davis

As a young person it's easy to convince yourself that you don't need to take a break or that you can just push through burnout.

But maybe your mindset would change if I told you what pushing through is REALLY doing to your brain.. 

As someone who's experienced burnout several times in my career, I'd always thought of it as an emotional or mental condition, and although it does have both emotional and mental effects, everything we feel or think ultimately comes from our brains!

This means that those spells of brain fog or mood swings you keep getting all result from something happing in your brain somewhere!

Recent research on people who had worked more than 60 hours a week for multiple years and received a formal diagnosis of burnout against a control group of people who weren't suffering showed some interesting findings...

The two groups showed key differences in the amygdala, a brain structure critical to controlling emotional reactions, including fear and aggression. 

Burned-out participants showed an enlarged amygdala and appeared to have significantly weaker connections between the amygdala and brain areas linked to emotional distress.

The burnout sufferers also had weaker connections between the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain involved in executive function or the ability to stifle impulses, make long-term plans, and control our behavior to carry them out.

This means that the amygdala (our brain's alarm system responsible for signalling when there's something in your environment to be upset about) is overactive AND the systems meant to counteract the amygdala, with logic and coping mechanisms are weakened.

So ultimately, when you're burned out, you are more sensitive, more emotional and your reactions are heightened! All a result of your brain not being about to function properly.

Wanna learn more about burnout? Check out the resources below and until next time, take care and please reach out to me on Instagram, TikTok or LinkedIn if you need help, advice or even just a chat!

AND remember your health is your biggest wealth!

Burnout-Mental Health UK
Signs & Symptoms-Positive Psychology
How To Deal With Burnout-Psychology Today

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Hi, I’m Shoshanna!

I'm 27 years old with 7+ years of industry experience despite only graduating five years ago and have experience working in both B2B and B2C, agency and client-side for Fortune 500 Brands, not-for-profit organisations and startups globally.

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