Stressful events that happen in our early years of development affect us in ways that last our entire lives.
Science tells us that from our birth, our brains are growing and adjusting to our environment. Whether traumatic, friendly, threatening or soothing, our experiences get wired into our biology.
Brains Adapt to Their Experiences
Stressful or traumatic childhood experiences include abuse, neglect, witnessing domestic violence, as well as growing up with alcohol or other substance abuse, mental illness, parental discord, or crime in the home.
Science tells us that these experiences are a common pathway to social, emotional, and cognitive barriers. That means people with traumatic childhood experiences have an increased risk of unhealthy behaviors, violence or re-victimization, disease, disability and early death.
On the other hand, supportive, nourishing experiences help build resilience. Those experiences include feeling loved, being comforted and having trusted adults offer help when needed. Science tells us that these experiences help a person develop confidence, independence and better decision-making skills — and could lead to better lifetime health.