After traumatic life events some people experience negative mental and physical health outcomes, while others not only survive, but thrive.
There’s a growing body of research on the strategies that prime our potential for resilience to adverse events, but less understanding of the neural pathways that underpin them. Today guest Valerie Knopik PhD returns to explore three of these pathways with host Rachel, sharing a recent review article on the neuroscience of resilience in adults.
In this episode, Valerie unpacks how three key neutral pathways could interact to influence our capacity to successfully handle stress and trauma. She suggests a range of strategies we can employ to down-regulate the negative, up-regulate the positive, and retain overall perspective.
Listen in to this episode to learn about three proposed pathways to resilience and how we can, and should, work with all of them to prime our potential to learn, grow and thrive in the face of adversity.
“You’re looking for things that are going to reduce over-activation of the fear-stress response…and increase any under-activation that’s happening in the reward pathways.” – Valerie Knopik PhD
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“If we can increase the activity in these areas of the brain that release dopamine then perhaps we can boost resilience.” – Valerie Knopik PhD
- A key review article on the neuroscience of resilience in adults [4:41]
- Defining resilience [6:29]
- A tripartite model: key neural pathways for resilience [9:11]
- 1: Fear and distress network, the amygdala and HPA axis [11:44]
- 2: Reward pathways, the mid-brain and the role of Dopamine [17:25]
- 3: The default mode network and the role of rumination [23:21]
- Some strategies influence more than one pathway [30:10]
- Reframing the stress response [32:16]
- Down-regulating the negative: therapy, journalling, affect labelling [34:11]
- The power of the breath [39:07]
- Up-regulating the positive: optimism, humor, social connection, gratitude [42:24]
- Finding joy in required tasks [45:28]
- Transcending the self: finding meaning and purpose, nature, flow state [50:17]
- Final takeaways and further resources [55:03]
- Watch this episode on YouTube
- Tabibnia et al, “An affective neuroscience model of boosting resilience in adults”
- Yoga Medicine® Podcast Episode 49: Epigenetics, Mental Health & Yoga with Valerie Knopik PhD
- Mental Health & Wellness Yoga Teacher Training:
- Yoga Medicine® Online Resources:
- Connect with Valerie Knopik:
“Stringing together things that bring you joy might take just a little bit of effort, but the reward you get afterwards makes the effort worthwhile.” – Rachel Land