Who we are is defined in relationship
I would like to explore more deeply this week the idea of attachment and attunement not only in adult/child relationships but in all human relationships. Do positive relationships, secure attachments and the ability to attune to others benefit us and help us to stay emotionally and physically well throughout our lives? When you become a parent there is the potential for you and your partner to offer a great deal of support to each other. Understanding how to do this more effectively can therefore have many benefits to our overall health and well being. I have started with the work of Dan Siegel, author of “The Whole Brain Child”.
We literally shape our babies brains through how we interact with them. Helping them to regulate their emotions until they are able to do so independently. If we are on the whole calm and responsive to our infants they are likely to become calm and responsive too. Making them happier, better learners and less prone to anxiety. It is important for your child’s mental health that you avoid leaving them alone when they are in distress.
“The magic of attachment is that our children internalize our patterns of communication with them, shaping the very structure of their developing brains as they move from the safe haven of our love to set out into the world from the launching pad of home.” Dan Siegel.
There is evidence that many mental health difficulties are characterised by a lack of integration between areas of the brain. Studies carried out by Dan showed that people with depression, anxiety and other imbalances tend to polarise between rigidity and chaos because and had lower quantities of integrative fibres between brain regions. This can be caused by neglect in childhood which sadly may be the result of the parent’s own distress and dis-integration.
The good news is that these integrative fibres can actually be built through the practise of mindfulness and meditation. This would explain why I feel like meditation gives me super powers – in a sense it does! Increased fluidity within the brain means we are more able to regulate our emotions more effectively, develop better concentration and improve our relationships. As a writer I often feel inspired by the fact that Yuval Noah Harari attributed his ability to write the book “Sapiens” to his meditative practise.
“Relationships where the sharing of energy and information flow is integrative stimulating the growth of integrative fibres within the brain that are the basis of all self regulation.” Dan Siegel.
This suggests that if we become better self regulators through the practise of meditation or mindfulness we can pass on these benefits to others. Helping them to become more integrated through our presence and attention.
I am reminded of this quote from “A General Theory of Love” by Thomas Lewis:
“Within the effulgence of their new brain, mammals developed a capacity we call limbic resonance — a symphony of mutual exchange and internal adaptation whereby two mammals become attuned to each other’s inner states.”
This is a very embryonic exploration but I would like to carry on going deeper into it and would value your thoughts and comments.