TED Talk: How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime by Nadine Burke Harris, MD

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris is a pediatrician who explains how repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain and the body.  She calls for, of course, prevention, routine screenings, and using this knowledge to guide medical screenings and interventions.

This information is based on a massive study done by the CDC (Center for Disease Control), that took a look at the potential long-term impact of childhood trauma.  You can take a deeper dive into this information on the CDC website.

If you are interested in looking into what your ACES score is, you can see the questionnaire here. ** Important Note: If you have a history of trauma in your life you may feel uncomfortable or get upset when taking this questionnaire.  I recommend that you consult with a mental health professional to guide you through this process.

If you found this interesting or helpful, you may also want to check out another post on my site, Oprah Learns about the Life-Long Impact of Developmental Trauma.

TED Talk - What Fear Can Teach us presented by Karen Thompson Walker (video)

Dan Zadra says (according to the internet), “Worry is a misuse of imagination.” So it seems to be a logical extension of that idea to say that we worry most about the things that are easiest to imagine. In this TED talk, Karen Thompson Walker cites history and scientific research to assert that this is indeed the case. Knowing this has the potential to help us make more informed and practical decisions…if we strive to focus on facts and not the lurid details that our brains can conjure. It can also help us short-circuit our brain’s inclination to borrow trouble and leave us marinating in the anxiety of what is possible, rather than what is probable. When we recognize our fears for what they are, a story that our mind is creating about what could possibly happen, after taking a logical look about whether the fear is something truly worth worrying about, we can choose to give less importance to some of the scary stories that our brains can distract us with.

PS – If anyone has a reliable citation for the quote above, please let me know!

TEDx UC Davis: Getting Stuck in the Negatives (and how to get unstuck) presented by Alison Ledgerwood, PhD (video)

Dr. Ledgerwood’s research show us that our brains are hardwired to subconsciously focus on negative information, despite positive information to the contrary.  However, when we make a conscious decision to shift our focus to positive things…things that are already there but our brains just having been paying attention to them, we can change our view of the world and of ourselves.

TEDx Talk: Feeling Good presented by David Burns, MD

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is based on the premise that our thoughts, emotions, and behavior are all interrelated and affect one another.  Because of this, if we learn to identify when we are having “thought errors” that distort our perception of reality, often skewing to seeing things in more a negative light, we can then Dr. David Burns is a well known researcher, clinician, and public speaker.  He is one of the leaders in the development of CBT, having been trained personally by CBT’s founder, the world-renowned Aaron T. Beck, MD.  In this short video, Dr. Burns uses stories from his life experience both as a clinician and as a person, to illustrate the power of CBT and how working to change our thoughts, in a real and genuine way, can have a profoundly positive effect on how we feel.  CBT has become the strongest (most likely to succeed), “evidence-based” form of therapy for issues such as depression and Bipolar Disorder, various forms of anxiety (PTSD, phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), eating disorders, and substance use disorders.  This means that scientific research has been able to document that CBT really works for people.

TED Talk: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are presented by Amy Cuddy, PhD (video)

Using research science to back up her ideas (in a very NOT boring, sciency way) Amy Cuddy tells us how a simple thing like our posture affects us (our body chemistry and how we perceive ourselves) and other’s perceptions about us.  Increasing how mindful we are about our body language, can impact things ranging from job success to that special person saying, “Yes!” when you ask them out for the first time.  Through pictures, contemporary media clips, and interactions with her audience, Dr. Cuddy demonstrates what she has learned from her colleagues’ research and her own in a way that is easy to understand and entertaining to watch.  I guarantee you’ll be sitting up straighter by the end of the video!

ADDENDUM (March ’16): The Effect of “Power Posing” Likely Depends on Context