The way we handle stressful situations is something that may be learned or innate.
While some psychology experts believe our ability to handle stress and anxiety is built into our genetics, others feel our experiences may have a significant impact on it.
In many cases, anxiety disorders seem to run in families; it’s not uncommon for a person with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder to have a close relative with some other anxiety-related condition. Psychologists learn some of this information by doing “twin studies,” which allow them to observe how environment and genetics affect mental health in two individuals with the same hereditary material. Twins who were raised in the same environment or separate environments provide critical data about the effects of nature and nurture.
A recent animal study from the University of Calvary in Canada sought to find answers to some of the questions about how we learn to handle stress. The results of the study lend credence to the idea that early experiences (rather than genetics) determine how our brain and nervous system function, which in turn influences how we will behave when confronted with stress.
The researchers hope to take their findings and use them to find out more about people who may have had bad experiences with stress early in life.
Read the original article on PsychCentral.