Richard G. Petty, MD

Stress, Depression and Resilience

“Patience in calamity, mercy in greatness, fortitude in adversity; these are the self-attained perfections of great saints.”
–The Hitopodesa (Sanskrit fable from the Panchatantra, the “Five Chapters,” Translated as the “Good Advice” c.1100 A.D.)

We are all different in the way that we respond to emotional and physical stress. It is not enough to focus on one single reason why one person handles it and another does not. I have often made the point that we need to consider the physical, psychological, social, subtle and spiritual contributions to any illness or challenge.

New research is shedding light on the interaction between two of these: genes and environment. A multinational research effort assessed the impact of stressor on mood in 275 pairs of female twins. 170 sets of twins were identical: they have exactly the same genetic makeup.

The research indicates that only 12% of individual differences in reactions to stress can be attributed to genetic influences. This is stunning, and should have been reported far more widely: 88% of the differences in the way a person reacts to stress are not genetic, but personal and environmental. This is of great importance in problems such as depression. If genetic factors play such a small role, then paying attention to the development of personal resilience – as well as dealing with social factors – is more likely to be effective than anything else. And, as has been discussed elsewhere one of the ways in which some medicines help people with depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia is probably by increasing their resilience.

I have already started showing you some of the techniques for improving psychological resilience and in a future publication we are also going to start work on physical, subtle and spiritual resilience and how to develop more resilient and dynamic relationships.

“Never allow anyone to rain on your parade and thus cast a pall of gloom and defeat on the entire day. Remember that no talent, no self-denial, no brains, no character, are required to set up in the faultfinding business. Nothing external can have any power over you unless you permit it. Your time is too precious to be sacrificed in wasted days combating the menial forces of hate, jealously, and envy. Guard your fragile life carefully. Only God can shape a flower, but any foolish child can pull it to pieces.”
–Og Mandino (American Motivational Speaker and Author, 1923-1996)

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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