Aside from everyday stress associated with school, relationships and family dynamics, our kids are faced with increasing rates of: bullying in-person and through social media; poverty, food and housing insecurity; substance abuse within their families; exposure to mass shootings; and family separations.
There is significant scientific evidence demonstrating that this stress not only causes short- and long-term harm for kids, but that it alters brain development, as well.
When we are in short-term stressful situations, our bodies produce adrenaline. This helps us with our “fight or flight” response by increasing our heart rate and blood pressure to improve blood flow to our muscles, increasing our blood sugar to help our brain and muscles work optimally, dilating our pupils so we can see better, and increasing our respiratory rate so we have more oxygen available to our muscles and brain. This is critical when we come face-to-face with a mountain lion, for example, to enable us to fight or flee from danger.