There’s a lot of talk about family and personal stress during this worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, but stress is hardly a recent development. Neither are the roots of resiliency that some people tend to have.
Scientist-turned-journalist Madhumita Murgia created a TED-Ed short film back in 2015 to illustrate what exactly happens to the brain on stress and how to mitigate this multi-lifetime effect.
“How Chronic Stress Affects Your Brain” is available for public viewing at no cost. Some highlights:
- Stress isn’t always a bad thing, unless you’re feeling regularly stressed-out
- This chronic stress changes how our body’s systems work, including our brains…even shrinking certain brain regions while enlarging the brain’s fear center
- These effects lead to it being harder to learn and remember things and control anxiety, and has been linked to eventual depression and Alzheimer’s dementia
- Stress is inevitable in our modern lifestyles, but there are certain coping skills linked to greater resiliency including exercise and mindfulness
- What’s parenting have to do with this? Turns out, parenting style changes how our genes are expressed…nurturing parenting sets up children for a lifetime of resiliency, negligent parenting sets up children for a lifetime of more susceptibility to stress’s effects
- And these changes to our children’s genes are heritable, meaning that not only can we change the trajectory of our family tree by shifting to a nurturing parenting style but also that our children’s children and grandchildren benefit from this choice
Curious as to what nurturing parenting looks like? Check out API’s approach.