So I’ve done it again! I missed my blogging time! I was even home and not really doing anything (you know as much as a mom can not really be doing anything) and I just totally forgot. This is why habits should not be broken. Routines save my life in the mornings, have I mentioned I’m not really much of a morning person before? Possibly? Maybe? Yeah you’ve heard it a time or ten, moving on.
So I read another book. Though it wasn’t really a whole book, it’s actually like an addendum to another book (which I have checked out now, and added it to my growing stack of books to read). It’s called The Brain and Emotional Intelligence New Insights by Daniel Goleman. The beginning was a little brainy, ha ha ha, I crack myself up. But seriously, lots of names of brain parts and high level stuff that was doing it’s best to loose me and I like that stuff. There’s only so many words I can’t pronounce that I can read before I start not being able to tell them apart. But there was a chapter called the Social Brain that was fascinating.
He starts it by stating the brain patterns we use for self-mastery and knowing ourselves are the same brain patterns used for knowing another person. In other words, if you don’t want to be a sociopath get to know yourself so you can have empathy and the ability to know another person (he didn’t actually use the word sociopath, but sociopaths have been shown to have no empathetic ability, I made a leap). So yay for self awareness! Always happy to see someone promoting this, big deal for me.
However the most incredible thing for me in this chapter was they have discovered “mirror neurons” in our brains. Which is a kind of wi-fi connecting one brain to another. How cool is that? Apparently people can “send” their feelings and emotions to another person’s brain and the other person’s “mirror neurons” will actually start firing in the part of their brain that houses the emotions being “caught.” Authority figures (parents!), people with dominant personalities or whoever is showing the most dominant emotion becomes the sender in the room while everyone else will be more likely to catch was is being transmitted. Now he’s applying this to the work place, but I work on the home front so I applied it to home.
So all those days I’ve come down the stairs in the morning still tired or emotionally neutral I’m allowing one of my two “dominant” children in the family set the tone for how the day goes. Now I love these two children, but they are not the ones prone to happy carefree attitudes. I’ve seen their morning grumpies take over the house, but I’ve always felt a bit helpless to stop it. Once one starts the whining or complaining it just spreads like wildfire through all four of them and then overwhelms me too.
But my authority figure status will overpower their influence, so if I can manage to keep myself visibly and dominantly upbeat, they will be too! Then they will do miraculous things, like pick up the whole downstairs in under 10 minutes with happy attitudes (no joke, this actually happened). So now all I have to do is stay outwardly upbeat! Yeah harder than it seems, but the pay offs seem to be worth it, so I’m writing it on my bathroom mirror so I can remember. I set the tone for the day, smile and stay upbeat! Be the emotional sender and send happy!
Somewhat related, I was doing math with one of the kids a few weeks and ago and they commented that they liked doing their math next to me, even when I wasn’t helping them, they didn’t get as many wrong and it was easier. I told them that it was because I believed in them and when they sat next to me they believed in themselves too and that’s why they could do it easier. Then I read the book above and found out I was right! Double score, I mean it sounded good anyway, but having someone neurologically confirm it is pretty awesome in my book.