Hey all, I'm back with more interesting reads (and a radio program)! Today you can learn more about positive characteristics of long term relationships, how stress impacts the brain, how to teach kindness and empathy to our children, a few pros to playing video games, and a discussion on surviving and thriving through traumatic experiences.
1. Want to know what characteristics make for lasting relationships? Kindness and Generosity. Based on years of relationship studies done by John Gottman and Robert Levenson at the University of Washington, it was found that couples that are kind and generous in their interactions with their partner stay together, and are happier. Couples that leave out these core ingredients were found to have higher physiological responses in their partner's company (high heart rates, less calm) and seemed to be in a constant state of "fight or flight". Their interactions were more often critical, dismissive, passive/passive aggressive/aggressive, and pessimistic.
What does it look like to be kind and generous? It means being happy for your partner when good things happen, considering the partner's intentions rather than actions, giving warmth and affection, and responding to your partner's "bid" for connection (showing interest when your partner attempts to share with you). Read the full article here: http://www.businessinsider.com/lasting-relationships-rely-on-2-traits-2014-11?utm_content=bufferdc881&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
2. Did you know stress changes the physiological structure of your brain? It does. Parts of the brain affected: the hypocampus shrinks (important for learning, memory, and regulating emotion); the prefrontal cortex shrinks (important for decision making, memory, and regulating impulsive behavior); the amygdala gets bigger (storage for memories with high emotional impact).
A good antidote for managing stress: EXERCISE. I'd also suggest scheduling an appointment with me ;) Read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jenny-c-evans/how-stress-is-literally-m_b_6064966.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063
3. Today's first article demonstrates how important kindness is to our personal relationships. Kindness and empathy (understanding other's experiences) help individuals have healthy happy relationships of all kinds. This article discusses some ideas for how you can help your child develop kindness and empathy. It suggests making caring for others a priority (demonstrating in our own lives is important, it teaches responsibility, and helps create balanced individuals), providing opportunities to practice caring and gratitude, expand your child's "circle of concern" (develops empathy at a larger scale), and guide children in managing feelings. For more details on how to teach/guide your child read here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2014/07/18/are-you-raising-nice-kids-a-harvard-psychologist-gives-5-ways-to-raise-them-to-be-kind/
4. Are you for or against letting your child play video games? There is a lot of advice out there on this topic. I personally think that video games have great potential, but parental discretion and overview of content and age appropriateness, time limits, etc should be in place. This article suggests that some games help kids hone the following skills: focus, problem solving, thinking and reflection (metacognition). http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/11040.html?utm_source=eletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=November
5. This last addition isn't something to read, but something to listen to! If you have about an hour, this is a really interesting discussion. It is an edition of KQED's Forum with Michael Krasny. Michael Krasny interviews David Feldman and Lee Kravitz on their new book "Supersurvivors". The book and discussion are about how people survive and thrive post very difficult and traumatic experiences. David Feldman was a professor of mine at Santa Clara University. I have only good things to say about him and his work. http://www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201411061000
Have a great day!