Our Principal Psychologist is now a certified practitioner and resilience coach, making available to our individual and EAP clients a unique battery of resilience assessment (PR6) and training program (Driven) tools. Using the latest neurobiology into resilience building and over 200 powerful microtasks to build a more resilient brain.
In June this year, Jurie Rossouw from Driven released the following snapshot of the neurochemical signature of the resilient brain allowing us to better understand the neurochemistry of resilience and the changes you can expect by doing the driven program www.hellodriven.com
Resilience can be a powerful proactive strategy to increase a state of wellness, acting as a protective not just reactive element through daily challenges. Research also shows how increased capacity can help lessen symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.
Interestingly, increased resilience capacity results in observable neurochemistry changes. To explore this, Jurie has put together a snapshot of this neurochemical signature:
- NPY is increased – Neuropeptide Y is the molecule of proactive conditioning (Reasoning domain), where the resilient brain contains higher levels of NPY, forming a protective barrier against PTSD.
- BDNF is increased – The molecule of learning, increased BDNF facilitates plasticity and long-term potentiation, aiding adaptation as a key component of resilience. BDNF is increased in the resilient brain through nutrition, sleep and exercise (Health domain).
- Cortisol is reduced – Chronic cortisol upregulation impacts immune function, reduces BDNF & can result in hippocampal dysfunction. The resilient brain downregulates HPA activation, resulting in less cortisol release during stress (Composure domain).
- Norepinephrine is reduced – Persistent locus coeruleus activation releases NE, potentially leading to chronic anxiety, fear and intrusive memories. The resilient brain reduces LC activation (Reasoning & Composure domains) to downregulate NE release.
- CRH is reduced – Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) increases fear conditioning and emotion-related memory, with further exacerbation by upregulated cortisol. Lower CHR in the resilient brain (Composure domain) protects against depression & PTSD.
- DHEA is increased – Protective in nature and with an anti-depressant effect, DHEA’s presence increases resilience capacity. Similar to BDNF, DHEA is increased in the resilient brain through healthy nutrition (high omega-3 foods), sleep, and exercise (Health domain).
- Benzodiazepine receptor function is increased – Stress exposure reduces cortical benzodiazepine receptor binding, impacting hippocampal health. A resilient response to stress (Vision & Composure domains) can maintain effective receptor functioning.
- Dopamine is directed – The molecule of motivation, dopamine is outcome-agnostic and needs active guidance through practice. In the resilient brain, we can expect stronger dopaminergic pathways motivating PFC activation during stress (Tenacity domain).
- Serotonin uptake is reduced – Chronic increased cortisol in GAD and MDD groups show greater expression of 5HTT expression, resulting in faster serotonin uptake. The resilient brain downregulates cortisol (Vision & Composure domains) to reduce 5HTT expression and thus reduce serotonin uptake for an anti-depressant effect.
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