Stress in small children separated from their parents may alter genes

Experts in the emotional needs of small children say increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol in babies and small children who are separated from their parents, especially their mothers, could have a long-term genetic impact on future generations. In a commentary published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, the authors say that several studies show that small children cared for outside the home, especially in poor quality care and for 30 or more hours per week, have higher levels of cortisol than children at home. Professor Sir Denis Pereira Gray, Emeritus Professor of General Practice at the University of Exeter, and President of the children's charity 'What About the Children?' who wrote the paper with two colleagues, said: "Cortisol release is a normal response to stress in mammals facing an emergency and is usually useful. However,...

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My three-year-old should not know about ‘stress’

Monday kicked off Children's Mental Health Week, an opportunity for various lobby groups and organisations (and there are many) to air their increasingly apocalyptic claims about childhood. In an appearance last week, the Duchess of Cambridge informed children that the world is a 'scary and daunting place' and encouraged parents to tell their children to 'feel confident about seeking support'. For at least two decades, we have been subject to increasingly shrill claims about a crisis of childhood. However, it is difficult to disentangle the truth about what appears to be relatively small increases in diagnoses of childhood mental illness and some underhanded claims-making by interested parties. For instance, back in 2007, claims appeared based on a UNICEF study that, Britain has the 'unhappiest children in the developed world'. The study was criticised for being manipulated toward a predetermined conclusion,...

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It was me, I did it: Why no one takes accountability anymore

We live in a chaotic world, characterized by roller coaster rides of alternating terror and exhilaration. Our culture has become exponentially more hurried, with a constant drive to camp out in the fast lane despite the well-known consequences of never slowing down. To keep up with this frenzy and avoid being trampled, we have developed an almost undetectable technique of refusing accountability for our actions. No one takes accountability anymore because to do so has somehow become an indication of weakness, a trait avoided at all costs to survive the hectic environment we live in. Immediate Gratification The sheer accessibility of information today is a main cause of the chaos. Our ability to ping-pong between current events, health news, and constant entertainment all while simultaneously working and eating our dinner is incredible. We have perfected the art of immediate gratification:...

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The Theory of Positive Disintegration 101: On Becoming Your Authentic Self

Do you ever wonder why some people go through a life-altering crisis only to come out the other side stronger and more at peace with themselves, while others fall apart and struggle to carry on? It's hard to predict who will rise from a tragedy like a phoenix from the ashes and who will need all of their strength just to keep their heads above water. We all hope to be in the former category, of course, but it's tough to know how we will respond to a disaster or crisis that causes us to question everything we thought we knew. One psychological theory aims to clarify how such transformations occur, and the types of people who are likely to take advantage of such an opportunity for growth: the theory of positive disintegration. ...

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Meditation changes the function and structure of the brain in a positive way

If you look at most 'masters' in the field of meditation, a common theme that currently exists is a big misconception about meditation, that it has to be done a certain way, that you have to sit a specific way or do something in particular in order to reap the benefits. These masters will be the first to tell you that it doesn't have to be one specific way. That being said, many spiritual groups, like certain monks for example, are taught different types of meditation in several different ways, so really, there's no correct way to meditate, and the process of connecting with one's higher self and quieting the mind can be done in multiple ways and practiced at various levels. When meditating, one shouldn't try to "empty" their mind, but instead, try to let ones thoughts, feelings, and...

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