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“The mind is what the brain does”

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Presentation on theme: "“The mind is what the brain does”"— Presentation transcript:

1 “The mind is what the brain does”

2  How we understand our experiences can promote or prevent the development of mental health disorders by turning off or on genes which make us vulnerable to psychiatric illness.  We can control how we interpret our life experiences – to promote healthy development and build resilience and mastery.  We can learn, develop, and teach specific skills which protect from disabling emotional disorders.

3 Mind-Body medicine is identifying key factors to prevent mental health disorders. Even Hippocrates the ancient Greek father of medicine noted disease=negative emotions.

4  Life experiences effect our genetics. We are born predisposed to certain mental health conditions - our early life experiences shape how our neural circuitry develops. We can tip the balance + or -  Many symptomatic mental health disorders have their onset or roots in childhood.  Though we debate the amount of the contribution from genes vs. environment, we do not debate the scientific fact that the environment influences gene expression.  How do life experiences change the brain? Effects on - hormones, blood flow, circuitry, neuronal growth and development, neurotransmitters, etc.  We control our response to negative experiences. Our perceptions effect our physiology» THREAT or CHALLENGE. Threat=stress response, impaired memory, learning, and emotional regulation. Challenge=opportunity for mastery and resiliency.

5 Why do some people develop post- traumatic stress and others post- traumatic growth after devastating experiences?

6  Here is the good news coping effectiveness, resiliency, and optimism can be taught and learned modifying gene expression.  THIS DOES NOT MEAN SHIELD FROM: loss, failure, mediocrity, disappointment, and pain… is teaching the skills to cope with difficult experiences in life.  Developing this SKILL TAKES CONSCIOUS EFFORT AND WORK. We need to lead the way changing ourselves and our “explanatory style” for our children.  Looking for “islands of competence” (Brooks & Goldstein).  Seeing challenges as “desirable difficulties” (Malcolm Gladwell).  Resilience means learning how to fail.

7  Social Support – teachers, parents, friends  Locus of Control – not a passive victim  Optimism – things will work out; positive emotion is not the inverse of negative emotion- building a positive mindset occurs through actively solving problems effectively  How you think about causes determines your out look, everyone has an “explanatory style”- the detrimental P’s (permanence, pervasiveness, personalization). Children learn their explanatory style from us  Self Esteem (feel well) vs. Mastery and Optimism (do well)

8  Competence: The ability to handle situations effectively.  Confidence: The solid belief in one's own abilities.  Connection: Close ties to family, friends, school, and community give children a sense of security and values that prevent them from seeking destructive alternatives to love and attention.  Character: A fundamental sense of right and wrong that helps children make wise choices, contribute to the world, and become stable adults.  Contribution: When children realize that the world is a better place because they are in it, they will take actions and make choices that improve the world. They will also develop a sense of purpose to carry them through future challenges.  Coping: Children who learn to cope effectively with stress are better prepared to overcome life's challenges.  Control: When children realize that they can control their decisions and actions, they are more likely to know that they have what it takes to bounce back.  *Kenneth Ginsburg

9 What are we capable of if we don’t worry about the outcome ?

10 LORT by Carver et al. A = strongly agree (0) B = agree(1) C=neutral(2) D = disagree (3) E = strongly disagree(4) 1.In uncertain times, I usually expect the best. 2. It’s easy for me to relax. 3. If something can go wrong for me, it will. 4. I'm always optimistic about my future. 5. I enjoy my friends a lot. 6. It’s important for me to keep busy. 7. I hardly ever expect things to go my way. 8. I don't get upset too easily. 9. I rarely count on good things happening to me. 10. Overall, I expect more good things to happen to me than bad.

11  Reverse 3,7,9 i.e. a=4 d=0 3,7,9 and sum  Sum 1,3,4,7,9,10 that is your total  Ignore 2, 5, 6, 8 they are filler only  Lower scores=more optimistic 0-24 Other measures  The Attributional Style Questionnaire (ASQ), Peterson et. al  CES –D Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale - NIMH

12  Be in the Moment  Realistic Goals  Everyday events – notice and share them  Acts of Kindness  Turn Negative into Positive  Honor Your Strengths  End the day with GRATITUDE

13  Meditation does not require an ashram it can be build into daily life with moments of contemplation, re-experiencing positive events, being grateful, reappraising      

14  Good vs. Bad Stress  Thoughts # Facts  Explanatory Style= learned helplessness vs. agent of change  High Stress- no prefrontal cortex activity in the brain – no problem solving-increased cortisol – increased insulin – increased inflammation- accelerated aging – decreased immune function – telomere shortening  Increased mindfulness – low stress, increased resiliency, increased telomerase, increased immune function, increased cerebral blood flow

15  Positive Psychology News -  The Optimistic Child by Martin Seligman  Raising Resilient Children by Brooks & Goldstein  Building Resilience in Children and Teens, Kenneth Ginsburg  David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell  Osher Center at University of California, San Francisco -  Yale Stress Center -  Parenting Out of Control: Anxious Parents in Uncertain Times, Margaret Nelson

16  Nurture Shock, by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman  The Emotional Life of Your Brain, by Richard Davidson  Mindsight, by Daniel Siegal, M.D.  Mind and Body Health Handbook, by Ornstein and Sobel  The Family ADHD Solution, by Mark Bertin

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