Yesterday in a training session, I was talking about the importance of the adult-child relationship. And as is so often the case, many of my trainees said that they intuitively feel more than they cognitively understand about what their children need, especially those who are more vulnerable.
Unfortunately, so many of us are so stuck on the ‘busyness’ train that we often miss our instincts trying to tell us something, much less sit with it and get to know it.
While this is still largely thought of as tree-hugging fodder, ever expanding imaging technologies, such as EEG and ECG, are enabling scientists to understand that this phenomena is anything but!
What we know is that the electromagnetic energy field of a human body is extraordinary.
It projects a great distance away from our body, 24/7, without any conscious awareness on our part.
We basically possess a mighty forcefield that the vast majority of us just aren’t tapping into.
And the MOST important factor is that this isn’t just about us. It’s that this energy field is constantly mediating with the energy fields of those around us, essentially meaning that our state of both mind and body is contagious – whether we wish it to be that way or not!
Simply being present, before you even ‘practice’ anything, has an amazing ability to impact the energy field of the young people you share your time and space with. This is the art of attunement (or lack of) and this is how it works;
Our human brains possess a fascinating mechanism to unconsciously pattern on the behaviours and actions of those around us, through these specialised cells.
Mirror Neurons are essentially designed to help little brains programme themselves on the big brains they grow up with, meaning they’re especially active in early childhood.
What that means for all of us who support children – in any capacity – is that the quality of their earliest interactions may have serious implications for how well equipped they now are to regulate their emotions and manage their relationships throughout childhood, and life.
And as the name suggests, mirror neurons work both ways. The downside is that when we’re supporting children who are erratic and out-of-synch, it can be much easier for us to reflect that back to them, rather than have them join us in our steadiness.
Many of us know first hand just how rapidly one dysregulated child can dismantle a previously calm group, and mirror neurons are one reason that can happen.
Synchronicity (or lack of!) is another reason…
There’s a good reason why you feel love in your heart, or fear in the pit of your stomach. These organs are all interconnected with our brain via the ‘autonomic nervous system’, which transmits emotional responses between them.
Who knew that there are more nerve receptors in your gut than your brain, and much of the human heart functions just like a brain; AKA the ‘little brain in the heart’?
But when we; as most of us do; spend too much time rushing around, anxious or stressed; this state ripples through our nervous system, affecting us at a physical, not just a psychological level.
And, just as is the case with our mirror neuron network, we transmit this state onto others electromagnetically, with no effort or even awareness.
So next time you walk into the room and feel immediately that the vibe’s not right or something’s wrong, trust that instinct. Your cognition may not be able to work it out but it just hasn’t caught up yet!
What we must appreciate is that we’ve got this power, whether we want it or not, so sorting ourselves out; taking a few meditative breaths, a few minutes of mindful activity or using a grounding exercise; is not a waste of time, self-indulgent or for tree-huggers!
When we intentionally cultivate a healthy emotional state in ourselves, we simply help our children do the same!
We gift them with a regulated and steady pattern, and; especially those who live with toxic stress, who are constantly on the fringes of ‘fight or flight’, and are programmed more for chaos than calm; that might be exactly what they need before anything else is possible; be that engagement, communication, or learning.
It can certainly take time, effort and practice, but because our emotional energy is literally contagious, it matters! The lesson in this is simple; Be what you want to see!
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