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An Adolescent Approach to the World

The prefrontal cortex is involved with most of our higher order thought functions like patience, goal setting, motivation, empathy, problem solving and much more.  The amygdala is involved in more reactive and quicker responses like fight-or-flight, emotional arousal, and survival needs.  Studies done at Harvard on teens versus adults asked individuals to label emotional facial expressions while in an fMRI machine.  Teens had greater amygdala arousal and less PFC activation while adults showed the reverse.  Teens were also less accurate in distinguishing subtle emotions like fear vs. anger.  A healthy PFC is crucial to our ability to notice and understand these nuances.  A challenged and exhausted PFC equates to a more adolescent approach to life in which we are ripe for misunderstanding and little subtle discernment.  Healthy fats, meditation, music, exercise, antioxidants, and play are all great ways to support your PFC.  How do you plan on supporting your PFC today?

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