Have you ever witnessed an adult throw a temper tantrum?
Did you see any similarities between them? Probably yes.
Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne (2011) eloquently refer to the similarity as "flipping his lid" in their book The Whole Brain Child (p.46.). When emotions are triggered, especially anger, frustration, and sadness, the emotion center of the brain, also known as the amygdala, blocks access to the logical reasoning areas of the brain. When the amygdala highjacks the prefrontal cortex the individual, regardless of age, does not have full access to his brain making it impossible for teaching, learning, or effective communication.
So, what can be done?
The emotional part of the brain needs time and space to calm down and become less charged.
How is this possible?
- Validation of feelings (See resource below)
- Taking deep breaths and relaxation (See resource below)
Validation of feelings:
I highly recommend The Whole Brain Child by Siegel & Payne to all of the parents I work alongside with their children. It is well-written and parent-friendly, holding valuable information regarding the process of the brain and how to effectively train children to use their entire brain during stressful situations.
Taking deep breaths and relaxation:
I recently ran across a short film 'Just Breathe' Helps Kids Deal with Emotions presented by Amy Poehler's Smart Girls. It provides a nice illustration of how the brain might feel/look when it has been highjacked, and how to use deep breathing to allow the brain to settle.
If you are interested in creating your own Calming jar, please go to the website below: