PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — As the war continues in Ukraine, the chaos can affect mental health worldwide.

Dr. Erik Braun, assistant professor of counseling at Bradley University, said the brain is trauma and anxiety. He said the perception of a threat causes the body to increase cortisol, which automatically triggers a stress response called “fight or flight.”

“I think it’s the fact that it is a bunch of stuff at once is what is causing many people to lose a little bit of that emotional regulation. I don’t know about you, but I kind of felt like if there was one less piece of adversity in my life, I would feel a whole lot better,” he said.

Braun said even if the danger isn’t real or immediate, such as viewing graphic images of the war in Ukraine, the body can still interpret it that way.

“It becomes an existential fear in a way. You yourself aren’t necessarily in immediate danger but your mind and your imagination get going. ‘What if that happens here? What if tanks started going down Main St and burning down all of our buildings?’ The imagination kind of goes wild with that,” he said.

Braun said it’s a good time to refocus and resettle the brain. He recommended practicing mindfulness to reduce stress.

Bradley University is hosting its sixth annual Super Brain Summit. This year’s focus is on brain plasticity, the ability of the brain to change its neuron pathways through growth and reorganization. It allows the brain to stay resilient in the event of danger or trauma.