YOUR LIFE ON BRAINWISE: PART 4 By Jane Wilson- Parent Engagement Specialist
We all need our tribe – last month we learned that we are neurologically designed to feel safest when we belong to and are part of a group. Our Constellation of Supportprovides assistance when we are working to solve a problem, and it can even help us avoid them.
One of the first steps to preventing a problem is realizing that you have one, which is the purpose of the BrainWise third Wise Way: Recognizing Red Flags. Red flag warnings identify internal and external signals that warn you that your lizard brain is beginning to activate itself. Learning to recognize your red flags helps you use wizard brain thinking. There are two types of red flag warnings:
Internal Red Flags: What you feel inside
· Stomach tightening
· Fast heartbeat
· Tight muscles
· Dry mouth
· Tightness in throat
External Red Flags: What you see, hear or do
· Clenched fists
· Gritted teeth
· Red face
· Slammed door
People with good thinking skills pay attention to red flags and are alert to their cues. They use them to assess and analyze a situation. Recognizing red flags can help you avoid or prepare for problems. Red flags give your wizard brain additional information to make decisions and create new pathways to your wizard brain.
One way to increase recognition of your red flag warnings is through practicing mindfulness. In simplest terms, mindfulness is the ability to be fully present – aware of where we are and what we are doing. When we become more conscious of how we feel in the present, we become aware of the changes in our bodies when we are angry or under stress. As you become more aware of your emotions, your brain builds networks and pathways that help you control your actions within your wizard brain. Studies also show that when kids learn mindfulness skills, they demonstrate significant improvement in attention, impulse control, ability to regulate emotions, and development of empathy.
For more information on Engaging Families and the BrainWise program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.