13 min

"Igniting Your Personal Leadership to Build Resiliency" Inspired by Dr. Bruce Perry Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning

    • How To

Now more than ever, we need leaders to emerge and take charge whether it’s you as a parent taking charge of your family’s daily schedule, or you as a worker navigating working from home. The powerful news is that you can use your own personal leadership skills to build resilience in your brain that will propel you and those around you forward. As we navigate the constant change we are all experiencing with the corona virus pandemic, I think it’s crucial that we stop and take some time to think about how we can take our own personal leadership skills to the next level to support those around us- those we work with, our families and our community. Understanding how our brains works during times of stress is more important than ever. I highly recommend listening to Episode 26, Simple Strategies for Overcoming the Pitfalls of the 3 Parts of Your Brain.[i]Once we have an understanding of how our brain works, we can use the extra energy we have to build our own personal resiliency, model it in our homes with our family and then reach out to others who might be under more extreme stress and could use your help and support. Together we are stronger.But first, just a reminder of how our brain deals with stress, understanding the 3 levels of stress response. Remember that some stress is good for us. We did cover this in EPSIODE 29 “How to Rewire Your Brain for Happiness and Well-Being to Optimize Learning.”[ii] Here’s a quick review. The Neuroscience of Anxiety: Calming the Basal Ganglia in Your BrainWithin our Limbic System, our emotional brain, is the Basal Ganglia that when revved high, makes us feel anxious. Do you know the difference between anxiety (our body’s natural response to stress that can become a mental disorder when someone regularly feels unusually high levels of anxiety) or stress (which is our body’s response to a challenge or demand)? Some anxiety is normal, and the same goes for stress.We know there are 3 levels of stress response.POSITIVE: Mild stress motivates us to complete our work projects or helps us to find solutions to problems that arise. This type of stress keeps us on our toes in our day to day lives and helps us to build resilience (which is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties). We all want to raise resilient children and model resiliency in our homes, and we are doing this when we can manage this level of stress. We’ve all experienced that brief increase in heart rate when mild elevations in stress hormone levels hit our central nervous system when we need to speak in front of a crowd, play a sport, take a test, or that nervous energy we feel before a job interview.TOLERABLE: Serious, temporary stress responses, buffered by supportive relationships. The key is to have support systems in place for this type of stress. In the times we are facing today, many people are unable to get out and connect face to face with people to help manage this type of stress. I have seen news articles about the devastating impacts this type of stress is having on people. If you know someone who might be in this category, please keep in contact with them. Do your best to call them, and remember that connecting face to face over technology is much better than not at all.TOXIC: Prolonged activation of stress response systems in the absence of protective relationships. This is the one we are most concerned about as this type of stress causes the most damage. I recently learned that after the Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in August, 2005, the offspring of people who went through this disaster showed an increase of substance abuse. (Perry, 2020).We must have strategies in place to help us to reduce anxiety and stress so that they don’t interfere with our day to day life. The more we can keep our stress levels on the tolerable side, the more regulated we become, increasing the resilienc

Now more than ever, we need leaders to emerge and take charge whether it’s you as a parent taking charge of your family’s daily schedule, or you as a worker navigating working from home. The powerful news is that you can use your own personal leadership skills to build resilience in your brain that will propel you and those around you forward. As we navigate the constant change we are all experiencing with the corona virus pandemic, I think it’s crucial that we stop and take some time to think about how we can take our own personal leadership skills to the next level to support those around us- those we work with, our families and our community. Understanding how our brains works during times of stress is more important than ever. I highly recommend listening to Episode 26, Simple Strategies for Overcoming the Pitfalls of the 3 Parts of Your Brain.[i]Once we have an understanding of how our brain works, we can use the extra energy we have to build our own personal resiliency, model it in our homes with our family and then reach out to others who might be under more extreme stress and could use your help and support. Together we are stronger.But first, just a reminder of how our brain deals with stress, understanding the 3 levels of stress response. Remember that some stress is good for us. We did cover this in EPSIODE 29 “How to Rewire Your Brain for Happiness and Well-Being to Optimize Learning.”[ii] Here’s a quick review. The Neuroscience of Anxiety: Calming the Basal Ganglia in Your BrainWithin our Limbic System, our emotional brain, is the Basal Ganglia that when revved high, makes us feel anxious. Do you know the difference between anxiety (our body’s natural response to stress that can become a mental disorder when someone regularly feels unusually high levels of anxiety) or stress (which is our body’s response to a challenge or demand)? Some anxiety is normal, and the same goes for stress.We know there are 3 levels of stress response.POSITIVE: Mild stress motivates us to complete our work projects or helps us to find solutions to problems that arise. This type of stress keeps us on our toes in our day to day lives and helps us to build resilience (which is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties). We all want to raise resilient children and model resiliency in our homes, and we are doing this when we can manage this level of stress. We’ve all experienced that brief increase in heart rate when mild elevations in stress hormone levels hit our central nervous system when we need to speak in front of a crowd, play a sport, take a test, or that nervous energy we feel before a job interview.TOLERABLE: Serious, temporary stress responses, buffered by supportive relationships. The key is to have support systems in place for this type of stress. In the times we are facing today, many people are unable to get out and connect face to face with people to help manage this type of stress. I have seen news articles about the devastating impacts this type of stress is having on people. If you know someone who might be in this category, please keep in contact with them. Do your best to call them, and remember that connecting face to face over technology is much better than not at all.TOXIC: Prolonged activation of stress response systems in the absence of protective relationships. This is the one we are most concerned about as this type of stress causes the most damage. I recently learned that after the Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in August, 2005, the offspring of people who went through this disaster showed an increase of substance abuse. (Perry, 2020).We must have strategies in place to help us to reduce anxiety and stress so that they don’t interfere with our day to day life. The more we can keep our stress levels on the tolerable side, the more regulated we become, increasing the resilienc

13 min

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