Summer has a tendency to throw us off our schedules with kids out of school, vacations, and longer, hotter days. After our Mindful May challenge, have you been able to continue your meditation practice? Help everyone keep cool this summer and share your practice with your children. If you find time to read this summer at home or on the beach, The Whole-Brain Child is a really interesting read about how our brains work and develop.
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive
I read this book as part of an online book club comprised of parents, educators, and child development specialists. As the mom of a toddler, I found a lot of the information helpful to our daily life. When you understand more about how the brain works, you can remain calmer in intense situations. However, this has so much useful information about our brains even if you don’t have children. Or if your children are no longer children. I will share some of my favorite points from the book in a few blog posts. I also encourage you to read more if you are intrigued.
Upstairs & Downstairs Brain
The book explains that just as we have a left and a right brain that work together performing different functions, we also have an “upstairs” and a “downstairs” brain. The downstairs brain is more instinctual, responsible for basic functions and strong emotions. The upstairs brain is more sophisticated, responsible for things like analytical thinking, emotional control, and empathy. Our brains work best when upstairs and downstairs are integrated and working together. When we get angry or upset, children and adults lose this integration and our downstairs brains take over. This is very evident in toddler tantrums. One way to exercise the upstairs brain and learn how to control your emotions should be familiar to you from yoga and meditation. You can teach your children to take a deep breath or count to ten. Isn’t this something we should all remember to do in times of stress and strong emotion?
Mindfulness & Meditation for Brain Integration
If you find yourself losing your temper more quickly, you may also need the reminder to slow down and breathe to let your upstairs and downstairs brain work through tough situations together. Our yoga and meditation classes are always available to help you strengthen both your mind and body. See our schedule and make this part of your routine!