Stress and Your Body | Dr. Bruce McEwen


I’m Bruce McEwen a professor and head of
the Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at the Rockefeller University in New York
City What is good stress versus bad stress? Stress as a single word is used
to cover many different things with many different meanings so for example good
stress, giving a talk, taking an exam, doing something that has a good outcome
you feel good about it there’s something called tolerable
stress when something bad happens then if you have the resources internally and
with external support from friends you can weather the storm and show recovery
resilience of recovery and there’s something called toxic stress that
really speaks for itself something bad happens and you don’t have those
internal or external support systems and it creates can create real health
problems and and so I guess what we have to do is to qualify it use of the word
stress if we if we say it at all by saying good stress or or toxic stress
sources or something to really point out which direction the body is going. How
does stress affect your body? When we undergo stress or almost anything
getting up out of bed in the morning to going through our daily activities
even if we don’t call it stress per se we have systems our cortisol, our our
autonomic nervous system, adrenaline, our metabolic hormones, our immune system are
all activated and they help us adapt and they keep us alive during the day we
don’t call that stress it’s, the term for it is Allostasis the active
process of keeping of adapting and and normally when these
things are turned on and turned off at the right time they keep us alive and we
do very well but when they are not turned on when needed or not turned off
when no longer needed then they can cause problems and they contribute to
this thing I call toxic stress. How do men and women react differently to
stress? Men’s and women’s brains are actually wired differently and as a
result men and women react to stressors in different ways we say men and women
do many of the same things equally well but they use different strategies and in
different circuits and so as a result you’ll have women being more prone for
example to depressive illness, men more prone for substance abuse in a social
behavior under chronic stress and these are just illustrations of the fact that
the brains really are are different for more information please visit nccih.nih.gov

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