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The best gift you can give your child is to help him train his brain positively

The philosopher and disseminator Elsa Punset explains how to practice this routine, following the publication of «The book of small revolutions»

The best gift you can give your child is to help him train his brain positively
Punset, during the interview on «The book of small revolutions»

Two hundred and fifty small routines that could change your love life, work, family… and, above all, with yourself. This is the latest editorial proposal by Elsa Punset with “The book of small revolutions” which, by the way, is not a book to read in one go. It is rather, the author explains passionately, for one to ask, “what express routine do I need today? Take a picture with the mobile phone to the page, and carry it over to practice at any time of the day. Or to have it on the table as a query, “he proposes.

The book is a compendium of the people who have inspired this philosopher for her wisdom over the years. “It is a book to live inside, to paint, have appointments… I wanted it to be that wise person, that reference, that accompanies you in the process of emotions, in which we are very alone normally. Normally you ask a friend, your mother, the neighbor… I wanted answers with some consistency and consistency, “he says.

-The human beings, do we learn only from experience, from difficulty, from loss?

-This is how we work. On autopilot. The brain is an organ programmed to survive. This is your only priority . It’s not that you’re more creative, that you have better relationships, that you feel better… That does not matter. So, what does the brain do? Enlarge the dangers, remember the bad things… for the good things it is as if it were Teflon. Instead, grab everything bad. And since we are born we should be taught to train the brain in positive, to reprogram it. What have I done in this book? Put 250 positive routines so that everyone finds one that works for them, or that they create their own.

-Is it true that to make a routine, you have to repeat it every day for a month?

-This is not an exact science. What is certain is that every action and every thought leaves a physical imprint in the brain . And we are not aware enough of that. It is more like the “I brush my teeth in the morning” mechanism, which the body has learned to activate. But it’s about doing it consciously. Just to ask you, where can I improve? What things, what habits, what do I repeat over and over again and they do not work for me? Can I unlearn? The latter is another thing to keep in mind and that we have not learned to do. We operate on autopilot. With which when we talk about learning. You have to repeat a thing many times so that the brain learns it. Let him unlearn one way of doing things and learn another. We know you have to repeat it many times, for this reason I have tried to make the routines light.

-Of the 250 express routines, which are the preferred ones of Elsa Punset, her “top ten”?

-Anyone that helps me activate my inner light. But everything depends on the moment of life in which you find yourself. My ten preferred routines are now because they belong to the field in which I am working, but not because they have to last me a lifetime. For example, right now I am very focused on everything that is facial and body language to manage emotions. I love the “powerful poses”. It’s marvelous. To understand it, I advise to see the video of the Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy, where it is shown as the “positions of power”-showing an attitude of security, even feeling insecure- can alter brain levels of testosterone and cortisol, and even improve our chances of success. There are two types of “powerful poses.” The winner of the marathon, with open arms and chin raised, or the arms akimbo. If you do any of these two gestures, in two minutes all the body’s chemical body balance changes, because you are sending a very important message to the brain.

It is curious, but it has been seen that girls, up to 11 or 12 years old, have the same poses as boys. But after that age they withdraw: They let themselves interrupt, they talk more quietly, they risk less… With the body they reflect the social message that we send them, and that the girls are incorporating. So, the best gift you can give your daughters, sisters, nieces, students, is to teach them to claim that space. It is a simple emotional routine, very powerful. It also works just by imagining it.

Finally, the routine that I like most at this moment, and that in particular I think that one of the most useful, is that of facial gestures. There is a very direct connection between the brain and the face. If you frown, if you put a surprise face… your brain reacts immediately.

– Who sends the message to whom?

-They go at once. This seems extraordinary to me. Before we thought that “if I feel good, I smile.” Now it turns out that if you smile you are sending the message that you are not as bad as you fear. But your brain – just in case – is on alert all day. It has been proven that women and men who inject Botox, not being able to frown, have a slightly lower perception of the negative things that come from outside. One of the routines of the book is to practice what I call “natural botox.” It’s like opening the hood of a car. What am I doing? What can I change? What is easy to change? What can I do that, in some way, send a different message to the brain ?

– You said that, since we are born, we should be taught to train the brain in positive, to reprogram it. How can we help our children?

-In my family we practice the “thing” a lot. Basically what is involved is to open communication channels. Humans sometimes have a real difficulty in preventing or talking about problems, even if they are not too big. We usually burst situations, because we let the situation get entangled. With the “thing” what we try to do is to accustom the children since they are small to tell the things that concern them, to look for group solutions. It is not about communicating only bad experiences. At home we talk about a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is a celebration: you always have to celebrate and it’s something that families forget.

There should be much more joy in families. We celebrate, and then we expose the thing that we think is improvable, whatever it is, to make decisions as a family. We ask ourselves: what can we do? But we do not do it from confrontation or aggression. It works very well, because then what you do is get ahead of the problems. We call a “thing” every so often and when someone says “I have no problem”, we look for something to improve. Because everything is improvable. With this type of actions the child also feels that things are in their hands. I think it is very important to understand that, in the end, in matters of emotional management, we can improve things, change them.

– You in your book proposes another routine to train the brain of children in positive: the so-called “happiness boat”. Can you explain to readers what it is about?

-The sooner you accustom one to children to think positive, the better. In this sense, the happiness boat is a very nice initiative to practice as a family. The idea is to have at home a large, transparent boat, where every night all members put a note with the good thing that has happened to them throughout the day: that the pizza delivery man has been particularly kind, a cool hug with a friend or with your son, a while in a garden, a bath with salts… each one has its joys. You have to write all those little moments that we usually pass, because the normal thing is that every night your brain will remember the bad, the disappointments of the day, or an unpleasant look of someone, and put them in the boat.

The time it takes to write it allows the brain to fix it. We have short-term, long-term memory, and what happens is that all these things happen so quickly… that they do not fixate on memory. The bad ones do because the brain remembers them, it spins them around. But the good ones do not, so it’s important to be aware of this failure of our brain. If you train your children from a young age to think positive, they have something very important to thank you for. It is to accustom them, as they wash their teeth, to make this gesture a routine.

-The 250 routines of his book speak of the importance of taking care of ourselves, in all aspects. Why do we love each other so little?

-We want little because basically they have not taught us. What good is love to a brain that just wants to survive? Relatively little. What good is it to love yourself? A lot We did not know that feeling good, feeling positive emotions, makes you smarter, more creative, gives you better health, better income, better relationships with others… But in effect, we tend to think that taking care of us is selfish. We are not aware of the extent to which if you are not well, you can hardly make the rest of the people around you feel good. How are you going to take care of others from an empty, stressed, tired or insecure place… You can not give what you do not have, basically.

-The caregivers, in general, have female sex. Why?

– Women in particular have taught us to give and care, and that is a heritage of centuries. By saying “no” they have the feeling that they are being selfish, that they are getting ahead of themselves. I think it’s great that we can learn that there are things that are basic to you, and that without them you can not function.

-You mention in your book the importance of saying NO, and of the lateness that is learned, usually. Why? How can we teach the children?

-How do children learn emotional management? By imitation. You do not have to explain things so clearly. Do not teach them to say no. That they see that their mother or father knows to say NO. And what he does with assertiveness, not aggressiveness. Let them see that their mother, for example, takes care of herself. If you do not take care of yourself, they will not know how to care. No matter what you tell them, it’s what you do. You are his model, and this message is fundamental.


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