The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak introduced unprecedented health-risks, as well as pressure on the economy, society, and psychological well-being due to the response to the outbreak. In a preregistered study, we hypothesized that the intense experience of the outbreak potentially induced stress-related brain modifications in the healthy population, not infected with the virus. We examined volumetric changes in 50 participants who underwent MRI scans before and after the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown in Israel. Their scans were compared with those of 50 control participants who were scanned twice prior to the pandemic. Following COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown, the test group participants uniquely showed volumetric increases in bilateral amygdalae, putamen, and the anterior temporal cortices. Changes in the amygdalae diminished as time elapsed from lockdown relief, suggesting that the intense experience associated with the pandemic induced transient volumetric changes in brain regions commonly associated with stress and anxiety. The current work utilizes a rare opportunity for real-life natural experiment, showing evidence for brain plasticity following the COVID-19 global pandemic. These findings have broad implications, relevant both for the scientific community as well as the general public.