library of resources

The connections between the stress response, inflammation, and exercise

  • link Havard Health Publishing
    Understanding the stress response

    A stressful situation — whether something environmental, such as a looming work deadline, or psychological, such as persistent worry about losing a job — can trigger a cascade of stress hormones that produce well-orchestrated physiological changes.

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  • book Goodreads
    The Body Keeps the Score
    by Bessel A. van der Kolk

    Trauma results in a fundamental reorganization of the way mind and brain manage perceptions. It changes not only how we think and what we think about, but also our very capacity to think.

    This is the book to read on the paralysing effects of trauma.

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  • book Goodreads
    by John J. Ratey, Eric Hagerman

    They don’t know that toxic levels of stress erode the connections between the billions of nerve cells in the brain or that chronic depression shrinks certain areas of the brain. And they don’t know that, conversely, exercise unleashes a cascade of neurochemicals and growth factors that can reverse this process, physically bolstering the brain’s infrastructure. In fact, the brain responds like muscles do, growing with use, withering with inactivity. The neurons in the brain connect to one another through “leaves” on treelike branches, and exercise causes those branches to grow and bloom with new buds, thus enhancing brain function at a fundamental level.

    I didn't consider incorporating exercise into my routine until I read this book.

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  • book Goodreads
    The brain changes itself
    by Norman Doidge

    For people, postmortem examinations have shown that education increases the number of branches among neurons. An increased number of branches drives the neurons farther apart, leading to an increase in the volume and thickness of the brain. The idea that the brain is like a muscle that grows with exercise is not just a metaphor.

    It taught me that it is never too late to change the structure of our brains.

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  • link ScienceDaily
    Potential Cause Of Arthritis Discovered: Carbohydrate Activates Body’s Defenses, Causing Inflammation
    by Brigham And Women's Hospital

    Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS) have shown that certain types of naturally occurring carbohydrates in the body may cause rheumatoid arthritis, a debilitating, painful disease affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

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  • link ScienceDaily
    How stress influences disease: Study reveals inflammation as the culprit
    by Carnegie Mellon University

    researchers have found that chronic psychological stress is associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response. The research shows for the first time that the effects of psychological stress on the body’s ability to regulate inflammation can promote the development and progression of disease.

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  • book Goodreads
    Healing Developmental Trauma
    by Laurence Heller, Aline LaPierre

    “It is now understood that one of the most significant consequences of early relational and shock trauma is the resulting lack of capacity for emotional and autonomic self-regulation. Shock and developmental trauma compromise our ability to regulate our emotions and disrupt autonomic functions such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and sleep.” 

    "How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship"

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  • book Goodreads
    Complex PTSD
    by Pete Walker

    Emotional flashbacks are sudden and often prolonged regressions to the overwhelming feeling-states of being an abused/abandoned child. These feeling states can include overwhelming fear, shame, alienation, rage, grief and depression. They also include unnecessary triggering of our fight/flight instincts…In an emotional flashback you can regress instantly into feeling and thinking that you are as worthless and contemptible as your family perceived you. When you are stranded in a flashback, toxic shame devolves into the intensely painful alienation of the abandonment mélange — a roiling morass of shame, fear and depression…While the origin of Cptsd is most often associated with extended periods of physical and/or sexual abuse in childhood, my observations convince me that ongoing verbal and emotional abuse also causes itMany dysfunctional parents react contemptuously to a baby or toddler’s plaintive call for connection and attachment. Contempt is extremely traumatizing to a child, and at best, extremely noxious to an adult. 

    "If you felt unwanted, unliked, rejected, hated and/or despised for a lengthy portion of your childhood, trauma may be deeply engrained in your mind, soul and body."

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  • book Goodreads
    Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine
    by Candace B. Pert read: 12/11/2015

    Amino acids are the letters. Peptides, including polypeptides and proteins, are the words made from these letters. And they all come together to make up a language that composes and directs every cell, organ, and system in your body.

    She was the scientist who discovered the opiate receptor. This book is partially a memoir and partially a breakdown on how emotions can affect our physical health. You'll have to read this with an open mind, as she goes into new-agey stuff. I discovered this book through reading "My Age of Anxiety."

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