We all know that too much stress can have a negative impact on your body. But did you know that if dads stress themselves out, it can alter their sperm, causing changes in their future offspring’s brain development?
A new study has found that a father’s stress levels can play a vital role when it comes to a child’s brain development.
What happens when men stress themselves out?
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Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine conducted experiments on mice and found out what role stress plays in the brain development of offspring.
They conducted experiments on adult male mice, exposing them to chronic periods of mild stress. What they discovered was that the offspring of these mice had a reduced response to stress. In humans, changes in stress reactivity have been linked to several neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression and PTSD.
The changes happen as a result of an increased amount of microRNA which was found in the sperm of the stressed mice. MicroRNA can affect the genes, and thus the development of future offspring.
MicroRNA molecules have also been linked to psychiatric conditions, and changes in microRNA levels can be linked to anxious or fearful behaviour.
Previously, child development has been linked to factors that affect the mother. The results of this new study highlights the importance of both the mother and the father when it comes to the health of their future offspring.
How can dads cope with stress?
Spending time with your children is a great way of reducing stress. | Image source: iStock
Stress is a normal part of life. Everyone gets exposed to stress and has to deal with it one way or another.
However, if dads stress themselves out too much, it can be bad for them. Stress can cause muscle pain, fatigue, headaches, and sleep problems. Stress can also affect your behaviour, and how you deal with other people.
For many dads (just like mums), stress is something that they have to work with. Dads deal with a lot of stress at work, as well as at home. This is why it’s important for dads to know what they can do to cope with stress.
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Here are some useful tips to remember:
- Spend some time to bond with your family. Many dads feel that they have to be the “rock” for their family. However, what these dads fail to realise is that they need their family just as much as their family needs them. Spend some time with your family, and make them feel loved and appreciated. Constantly focusing on work isn’t always a good idea.
- Talk to your kids, and your spouse. If it’s hard to find the time to bond with your family, make it a point to talk to them every day, even just for a bit. You can have a chat with your wife early in the morning, and before going to bed. You can talk to your kids during dinnertime, or after dinner. And of course, there’s the weekend.
- Eat well, and exercise. A healthy body can help you deal with stress. Exercise sounds tiring, but it actually lowers the stress in your body. Eating vegetables and healthy food can also help lower stress levels.
- Have some “me” time. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. If you feel overwhelmed, and need some time to yourself, by all means, do so. You can go out, watch a movie, hang out with your friends, or just take a much-needed nap at home.
- Learn to say “No.” If you’re too tired, just say no. It doesn’t make you irresponsible, nor unreliable. Sometimes, you really just can’t do everything everyone asks of you, and that’s okay.
- Don’t be afraid to seek help. If you feel that your stress is causing problems in your marriage or work, seek help. It’s always better to deal with the problem head-on, rather than dismissing it and making it worse. If your stress is getting the better of you, tell someone, and ask for help.
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