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Childhood Disrupted

How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal

By Donna Jackson Nakazawa
15-minute read
Audio available
Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

What happens when a child who’s experienced trauma grows up, and yet never outgrows that trauma? Childhood Disrupted (2015) reveals the deep physiological and emotional consequences of the stress that shapes us both as children and as adults, and explains how we can recover from our childhood experiences and help our own children.

  • Parents looking for guidance in raising their child
  • People suffering from chronic health issues
  • Individuals looking to better understand their traumatic childhood experiences

Donna Jackson Nakazawa is an award-winning science journalist, public speaker and the author of The Last Best Cure, which describes her own journey to health despite several autoimmune diseases.

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Childhood Disrupted

How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal

By Donna Jackson Nakazawa
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal by Donna Jackson Nakazawa
Synopsis

What happens when a child who’s experienced trauma grows up, and yet never outgrows that trauma? Childhood Disrupted (2015) reveals the deep physiological and emotional consequences of the stress that shapes us both as children and as adults, and explains how we can recover from our childhood experiences and help our own children.

Key idea 1 of 9

Our physical experience of stress has two stages.

Some of us experience stress once a week, while others face it almost everyday. Though we experience stress in various forms and at varying levels, it’s always a physical experience. In fact, we have mechanisms to deal with stress built right into our bodies.

The human body responds to stress in two ways: getting ready for it, and relaxing after it. Whenever you experience a stressful event, your body prepares you for it by increasing your alertness. This is achieved when the hypothalamus in your brain triggers the pituitary and adrenal glands in your body. Your immune system is fired up, your pulse quickens and your muscles tense. Yes, this is your fight-or-flight response.

Just imagine you’re lying in bed in the quiet of the evening, when, suddenly, you hear a clatter on the stairs. Eyes wide, heart pounding, you listen carefully as your body stiffens. Within seconds, your body has prepared you for possible danger.

And another few seconds later, you realize that the noise was just your son heading back up to his room after grabbing a midnight snack. Your muscles and your body relax, the adrenal and pituitary glands as well as the hypothalamus decrease their activity, and the production of stress hormones ceases.

These lightning-fast responses reveal just how capable our bodies are of dealing with stress. And yet, it’s widely believed that any form of stress is bad. In fact, most of us will go to great lengths to avoid stress. The truth is that moderate forms of stress can actually increase your ability to handle stressful experiences in the future.

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