Doing more for Mental Resiliency than Let’sTalk again this year

Do more for Mental Resiliency than Talk

It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day 2018 and today, I am joining the conversation again – this time with personal action suggestions to guide you in developing stronger mental resiliency. When we are mentally resilient, we are better equipped to ward off mental illness.

Last year I wrote about focusing on “Walking Our Bell’s Let’s Talk Campaign”. Check it out if you’d like to review what you can do now for your brain to build resilience from illness. It will help you understand why you should be, and how to be, more active, eat well, and sleep better – all which help you build your resiliency. I often quote a prominent neurologist from Harvard, who says, “what’s good for our heart, is good for our brain.”

We know that beyond genetic predispositions, our ability or inability to cope with stress can determine if a mental or other health illness might manifest. Coping and developing resilience requires us to do some basic things (as mentioned above) to prevent illness and disease.

There are also tests that can tell you how you’re coping with stress.

This year our personalized medicine practice at Executive Health Centre has incorporated an insightful diagnostic test that assesses your adrenal and brain chemical markers to give us a better understanding of how you’re coping (overstressed vs. burned out), and also how to modulate your chemicals to help you ‘feel’ better.

As you take personal responsibility for your own mental resiliency, it will help to know more about the effects of stress and our body’s response.

Stress changes our cortisol levels. This stress-response hormone is responsible for getting our bodies ready for a fight! Our heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature all rise to increase our metabolism in response to stress. Unfortunately, these days (and all too often), this stress response is caused by an emotional rather than a physical sense of danger. Nevertheless, the response is the same.

Cortisol can be measured during certain parts of a day to create a cortisol ‘curve’.


Diagram from Dr. Elaine Chin, Author of Lifelines: Unlock the Secrets of your Telomeres for a Longer, Healthier Life. Copyright 2015.

Short-term stress causes our cortisol to rise higher and is important for preserving our well-being. Our immune response goes into high alert, preventing us from getting infections and becoming ill. Our DNA and tissue repair response increases. We are stimulated to find food – especially carbohydrates – and we store it as fat so that we are less likely to starve.

Long-term stress, however, can reduce our cortisol response – often known as adrenal fatigue or burnout. This leads to a slower immune response, which can complicate how we prevent and repair DNA damage, which, in turn, increases our risk of infection and disease. As well, with a slower metabolic rate, we have less energy, feel more tired, and burn less fat.

Diagram from Dr. ­Elaine Chin, Author of Lifelines: Unlock the Secrets of your Telomeres for a Longer, Healthier Life. Copyright 2015.

We know that stress or abnormal cortisol impacts our neurotransmitters. They are the brain chemicals that facilitate the transmission of signals from one nerve ending to the next across a synapse. Neurotransmitters work with receptors in the brain to influence and regulate our mental performance, emotions, pain response and energy levels.

Three critical neurotransmitters are serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.


The levels of these chemicals along with other neurotransmitters (GABA, Glutamate) affect our mood and cognitive functions. Inadequate neurotransmitter function has a profound influence on overall health and well-being and are associated with many of these prevalent symptoms and conditions seen in practitioners’ offices today.

  • Mood disorders; depression, anxiety
  • Adrenal dysfunction; fatigue, insomnia
  • Loss of mental focus; ADD, ADHD, cognitive fog
  • Addiction and dependency
  • Hormonal imbalances; E2 dominance, E2 deficiency, low androgens
  • Loss of appetite control; cravings
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Depressed mood
  • Low libido; sexual dysfunction

Compounding these symptoms of imbalance are many lifestyle substances like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine and several medications. They can contribute to neurotransmitter depletion which can trigger undesired symptoms.

What you can do:

Identify your response to stress by developing your cortisol curve with a simple saliva test. Managing neurotransmitter imbalances can be facilitated with a simple urinary test. These diagnostics can be completed in the comfort of your home and provide a critical understanding of your neuroendocrine imbalances, which can be corrected with nutraceuticals, hormone replacement, diet, and lifestyle interventions.


Elaine Chin, MD, MBA
Personalized Medicine Specialist
Founder, Executive Health Centre, Innovation Health Group


In support of Bell’s Let’s Talk Day, let’s ‘do’ more than just talk. Five Cents will be donated for every interaction.  Here’s how you can support the cause:

Retweet this blog with the #BellLetsTalk hashtag or create your own Tweet and include this hashtag or Share it on Facebook and include the hashtag #BellLetsTalk


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