A few posts ago I spoke about the power of resiliency, how necessary it is in order to combat the stressors that are bound to occur in everyday life. Prior to unlocking our genetic codes, resiliency was some psycho-mumbo-jumbo that meant a person can handle stress.Â Wellâ€¦that is still what it means, but now we have the scientific understanding of what is occurring in our brains when that resiliency is taking place.Â A majority of people will experience a traumatic experience in their lives, almost 10% of them will experience PTSD related symptoms after that point for however long of a period of time.Â We have always asked â€œwhy is it that some people can recover after a traumatic experience and others are burdened with this stress disorder?â€
What we also know is the impact of this prolonged stress. Similarly to chronic pain(shamelessly promoting yesterdayâ€™s post) chronic stress decreases functioning in the Hippocampus, as well as our prefrontal cortex. This is decreasing reasoning and decision making, increasing the area responsible for fear and inhibiting our learning.Â No wonder it is such a debilitating disorder. PTSD is rewiring our brains to an endless cycle of fear. Â But we know thatâ€¦now for the cool news.
We are beginning to understand how not only the immediate reaction after the event can determine outcome, but how everything leading up to that experience including a biological marker NPY which helps shut down the stress alarm going off in our bodies.Â We can train our brain to increase the levels of NPY in order to better inoculate ourselves against the stressors.Â This can occur naturally, within the course of the personâ€™s life, or staged, like military training focused on mental stress. Scientists are even curious to see if NPY can be introduced artificially to help counter extreme reactions.
It is not the situation, but our reaction to it that sets our course.Â By better understanding resiliency and PTSD, we can better equip ourselves to live healthier lives no matter what comes our way.
Our authors want to hear from you! Click to leave a comment