Matthieu Ricard: repairing our childhoods

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“Michael Meaney and his colleagues at Douglas Hospital Research Center in Canada have shown through a series of fascinating experiments that when rats that were genetically disposed to extreme anxiety were entrusted in the first ten days of their lives to overcaring mothers that groomed and licked them constantly and were in physical contact with them as frequently as possible, the genes that regulated the response to stress were blocked (by a process called methylation) and remained unexpressed throughout the rats’ lives (unless the rats were subjected to major trauma). .
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Conversely, the offspring of low-caring mothers displayed high amounts of stress.
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Recent evidence suggests, however, that these latter effects are reversible.
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If a pup from a low-licking mother is “adopted” by a high-licking mother, it shows normal development.
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Individual differences in maternal care have been shown to modify not only an offspring’s ability to cope with stress later in life, but also its brain and cognitive development. .
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The pups reared by high-licking mothers are not only calmer during stress but show a greater capacity for learning.”
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The first two years of life with our caregivers has more influence on our life than anyone other time of development.
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Mindfulness sets out to soothe and repair those minds that were not nurtured in early childhood or those who want to live fully.
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