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The Stress Proof Brain by Melanie Greenberg

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Cites studies such as short term stress response in medical students taking exams with blood tests showing a weakening of their immune system. Short term stress is ok, but chronic stress is not.

Telomeres are highly sensitive to chronic stress. Mentions a study about mums who reported on being more stressed had much shorter telomeres, which was equivalent to at least ten years of extra ageing. Whereas, mums who didn’t perceive their lives as highly stressful didn’t exhibit the telomere shortening effect. Both groups had a child with a chronic disability. Therefore how you view your stress matters.

Developmental type transitions – people cope with these differently. You tend to cope better if you have a good match of your abilities to challenges, meaning and fulfilment in your life, some social and financial resources. Otherwise your brain may label developmental challenges such as academic, social, and financial demands and career as uncertainty and threatening. Then your amygdala will generate the “fight, flight, or freeze”.

Major life events occur and these tend to be out of your control, such as losing your job. Therefore find your own sense of identity based on your own core values or relationships, rather than on external events that you can’t control, such as finding a high paying job.

Think of yourself as a good parent, a loving partner, friend, or family member. A person of good character who contributes positively to your community and makes a good difference in the world.

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