Good stress for kids

Harvard Professor John Ratey, MD Psychiatrist, shares advice for parents on what type of stress is beneficial for kids, and how to help limit your child's stress to only good stress
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Good stress for kids

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What we’ve learned in the past 10 years about stress is that stress has to be looked at a little differently. Most people think of stress as what we call toxic stress – too much, never stops, it’s always a worry on our mind – that’s toxic stress. But stress really is defined as any activity that’s not about sleeping or sitting. It’s movement, or it’s thinking, or it’s being engaged, because stress involves using more energy. And when we use more energy, especially in our brains, our brains grow. It’s one of the big findings in the past 20 years is that our brain is really like a muscle. If we use it, it’s going to grow. The only way that it grows – if we stress it. So we have for instance, exercise is stressful for the brain, but it really prepares the brain to deal with future stresses, so we call it stress inoculation, meaning that it helps the brain later on to handle the stresses of everyday life and the issues around aging.

Harvard Professor John Ratey, MD Psychiatrist, shares advice for parents on what type of stress is beneficial for kids, and how to help limit your child's stress to only good stress

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John Ratey, MD

Psychiatrist & Author

John J Ratey, MD, is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Research Synthesizer, Speaker, and Author, as well a Clinical Psychiatrist maintaining a private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has lectured and published 60 peer reviewed articles on the topics of Aggression, Autism, ADHD, and other issues in neuropsychiatry.

Dr. Ratey has authored A Users Guide to the Brain and co-authored Shadow Syndromes  with Catherine Johnson, PhD. From 1994 to 2005 he co-authored Driven to DistractionAnswers to Distraction and Delivered from Distraction with Edward Hallowell, MD. Additionally, he has edited several books including The Neuropsychiatry of Personality Disorders. Most recently, Dr. Ratey has penned, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain published by Little Brown. In Spark, Dr. Ratey guides the reader to an understanding of neurobiology and inspires the reader to reach for their potential, and embrace exercise that is crucial for the brain and body to operate at peak performance.

Spark is fueling a movement to re-engineer school practices and medical recommendations to establish curriculum, lifestyles and corporate practices based on scientific principles. Providing the scientific foundation and research data, Dr. Ratey has been drafted into the groundswell of those whose mission it is to revitalize schools, combat the obesity crisis, stave off the encroaching epidemic of Sedentarism, by returning to evolutionary principles of physical exercise and proper diet thereby combating syndrome X, the underlying causation of much chronic disease.

Each year since 1995, Dr. Ratey has been selected by his peers as one of the Best Doctors in America. In his dedication to changing the world, Dr. Ratey has founded The Ratey Institute whose mission is to broadcast life changing science and establish the best practice policies first in our school and then other organizations to reclaim human health.

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, released in 2008, is the culmination of years of experience with the brain body connection, new research data, and the synthesis of biological sciences. Spark is revolutionizing how we see the human species. A call to return to our evolutionary roots; to get in sync with our metabolic design honed through eons of survival to optimize mental and physical health. 

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