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Resilience
Laurel Mellin, PhD
Associate Clinical Professor of Family and Community Medicine, UCSF
Resilience
• Resilience is the capacity and dynamic process of
adaptively overcoming stress and adversity while
maintainin...
Genetic Evolution
• Reptiles evolved into mammals with limbic systems.
• Limbic system favors survival drive for connectio...
Cultural Evolution
• Mediated by language.
• Effective cultural transmission of that which promotes
survival.
• Faster, mo...
Personal Evolution
• 70% transmission from parent to child of selfregulatory circuits.
• Intergenerational transmission of...
Emotional Evolution
Stage 1. Existence

I do exist.

Stage 2. Essence

I am not bad.

Stage 3. Power

I do have power.

St...
Emotional Brain Medicine
• All organisms have survival drives.
• Emotional memory evolved to improve survival.
• Emotional...
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Ucsf 3 3 ppt

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Ucsf 3 3 ppt

  1. 1. Resilience Laurel Mellin, PhD Associate Clinical Professor of Family and Community Medicine, UCSF
  2. 2. Resilience • Resilience is the capacity and dynamic process of adaptively overcoming stress and adversity while maintaining normal psychological and physical functioning. • Facilitated by three evolutions: genetic, cultural and individual (emotional). • Brain is reward and stress-driven, so resiliency or selfregulatory success requires neuronal stress circuitry to effectively process stress and access adaptive rewards. Vaillant, GE (2008) Spiritual Evolution: A Scientific Defense of Faith.
  3. 3. Genetic Evolution • Reptiles evolved into mammals with limbic systems. • Limbic system favors survival drive for connection. Huge human neocortex facilitates complex thought. • Interconnections of neocortex and limbic system = prosocial thoughts activate limbic reward centers. • Intense reward activations in limbic regions swamps stress response. Homeostatic brain states = eudonic rewards. Allostatic brain states = hedonic rewards. Vaillant, GE (2008) Spiritual Evolution: A Scientific Defense of Faith.
  4. 4. Cultural Evolution • Mediated by language. • Effective cultural transmission of that which promotes survival. • Faster, more flexible, than genetic evolution. • Culture evolved to communicate the survival value of transcending self-interest. • Improved communications facilitated larger and more complex social organizations essential for survival. Vaillant, GE (2008) Spiritual Evolution: A Scientific Defense of Faith.
  5. 5. Personal Evolution • 70% transmission from parent to child of selfregulatory circuits. • Intergenerational transmission of trauma. • Last trimester of pregnancy through first 3 years, passive pruning until late 20s. • Emotional plasticity or “targeted pruning” • Epigeneteic effects may include reversible genetic effects in response to experience. Vaillant, GE (2008) Spiritual Evolution: A Scientific Defense of Faith.
  6. 6. Emotional Evolution Stage 1. Existence I do exist. Stage 2. Essence I am not bad. Stage 3. Power I do have power. Stage 4. Purpose I can do good. Stage 5. Love I can love. Stage 6. Desire I am worthy. Stage 7. Wisdom I am joy.
  7. 7. Emotional Brain Medicine • All organisms have survival drives. • Emotional memory evolved to improve survival. • Emotional memories can be adaptive or maladaptive. • Adaptive plasticity of emotional memories improves health and well-being.

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