#1 The first filter in the brain is the thalamus, which makes an instantaneous call on whether something is a possible (imagined or real) threat demanding instinctual action to be orchestrated by the Reptilian and Animal Brain, or intellectual processing in the Human Brain.
#2 If the news is not interpreted as perilous, the thalamus passes on the in-coming information to the Human Brain, which reflects on a variety of options and consequences before selecting a thoughtful response.
#3 If the “Oh no” experience continues, stress hormones bathe every cell of the body in cortisol and then dopamine. It is an alert signal that raises the heart rate and blood pressure, shuts down immune function, reproductive urges, digestion, and intellectual analyses instead of rushing oxygen and glucose to muscles and vital organs.
#4 Any calming effects serotonin could contribute are wiped out and dopamine is on its way through the roof.
#5 Eventually the hypothalamus, flooded with cortisol from the adrenal glands working overtime, is burned out. Our bodies count on the hypothalamus to know when to put a halt to cortisol output, but chronically high concentrations of this hormone damage the hypothalamus, gradually robbing it of the ability to notice when there is too much of it and stop production.
#6 Hypothalamus out of commission? Then, so is short-term memory. The immune system becomes overwhelmed and we are set up for health problems: our chances of catching whatever is going around, a cold, the flu, or a random infection, are very good. Long-term, there are major health issues: diabetes, stroke, coronary disease, cancer, and depression.
Less time on devices, selective use of media, deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, anyone? Other ideas? What works for you?