So it’s no wonder that I love this very cool day dedicated to smiling. If you’re also interested, you can check out the World Smile Day website. It’s filled with articles, history, and fun events happening around the world. Smiling rocks!
Fascinating research on smiling.
Smiles are more than skin deep.
Have you ever wondered why you can’t help but smile back when someone smiles at you? And why it feels so good when someone (strangers included) smile. It turns out that smiling is linked to a specific type of neuron called mirror neurons.
“Neuroscientist Giacomo Rizzolatti, MD, who with his colleagues at the University of Parma first identified mirror neurons, says that these neurons could help explain how and why we “read” other people’s minds and feel empathy for them.” Source: APA Monitor
The ripple effect of positivity.
Mirror theory helps us understand why emotions are so contagious. Just like mirrors reflecting back visual images, mirror neurons cause us to instinctively mimic the facial expressions and emotions of others. Simply seeing someone smile generates a community chain reaction of positive emotions and behaviour.
One more reason to share your good vibes with the world.
Have you ever wondered how your best friend lives so freely “moment-to-moment” while your mind is imprisoned by thoughts of past events and/or planning of future events (so neatly) written in your (overly structured) daytimer?
Brain Hemispheric Specialization provides insight into why some of us are more present focused and able to “go with the flow” (Right Brain dominant); while others are busy planning their days with the step-by-step precision of a NASA engineer (Left Brain dominant).
Your Brain and Behaviour
Despite being identical in structure, the two halves of the brain specialize in how they process information (e.g., Past vs. Present), and how they function (e.g., Verbal vs. Nonverbal).
Time Processing: Past vs. Present
Left hemisphere – processes information sequentially, one bit at a time
Right hemisphere – processes information globally, considering it as a whole
Brain Functions: Linguistic vs. Spatial
Left hemisphere – includes verbal tasks, such as speaking, reading, thinking, and reasoning.
Right hemisphere – includes nonverbal areas such as the understanding of spatial relationships, recognition of patterns and drawings, music, and emotional expression.
Personally, I obtained a score of 10 on this test – indicating that I am equally Left and Right Brained.
Which didn’t surprise me as I often “lay the table” with outlines, organizers, etc. (Left Brain) and the moment I feel safe, grounded, and prepared, I sit back and watch the ideas fly! (Right Brain)
What about you? How did you score on the Left/Right Brain Dominance Test? Was it what you expected? Were the results consistent with how you live your life? Did you learn something new about yourself?
2. Watch the following 20 minute video to: a) learn firsthand about L-R brain specialization and b) discover how Neuroscientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor turned her real-life tragedy into an awe inspiring “Stroke of Insight“. I am still moved to tears by her story! I hope you are too. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is resilience personified.
The more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemisphere, the more peaceful our planet will be. Jill Bolte Taylor
Psychology Class ↔ Psychology Blog
This post is a summary of this week’s psychology lecture and Chapter 2 of my psychology textbook. If you want to learn more, you can download a free PDF of my neuroscience and behaviour chapter by clicking on this link.
So many students come to class anxious and stressed out. The last thing on their minds is learning. Which is why I start each class by asking students what’s the best thing that’s happened to them today.
Reflection ◊ Connection ◊ Motivation
Their answers fascinate me. And give me insight into what motivates them. From simple to profound. From food to relationships. From money to purpose. From grades to destiny. And everything in between.
Less stress. More learning.
Interacting with students in fun and uplifting ways brings laughter and lightness to the classroom. It doesn’t take a lot of time. Yet it creates a significant shift in student stress and comfort levels.
Students need to feel safe. Students need to feel heard. Showing them you care (while having fun) works every time. Only then can the real learning begin!