ARE YOU NATURALLY PRONE TO STRESS?
Everyone gets stressed, but some people seem more susceptible to pressures getting on top of them. It’s not just a simple matter of genetics – although scientists have found genes that do seem to affect our ability to cope when the going gets tough. What’s becoming increasingly clear is that stress in childhood can affect the way genes express themselves, and these epigenetic changes seem to be linked with conditions such as depression.
Studies in animals are showing that stress in early life makes it much more likely that stress will prompt mood problems in adulthood. Childhood stress seems to trigger biochemical changes that alter the way genes express themselves. Once they’ve happened, these ‘epigenetic’ changes can be passed down through the generations. So the stresses your parents or grandparents experienced in childhood may account for why you’re easily wiped out by high-pressure situations.