Referring to neurophysiologic feedback loops, the word ‘neurophysiologic’ is important here because we can recognize that we aren’t just communicating with our words, but also with our thoughts and our feelings.
The work of the Heartmath Institute out of Boulder Creek, CA helps us to understand that our bodies are constantly communicating to one another, especially through our hearts. According to Heartmath, when we’re out of coherence with our body-mind, everyone around us feels our negative energy (whether we say something out loud or not!) and we’re likely to find ourselves in the downward negative spiral with our kids. When we can shift ourselves back into a state of harmony within our bodies and our minds, we can exit the merry-go-round.
Recognizing when you’re out of coherence with your body-mind is a great place to begin the journey into neurophysiological feedback loops. The most basic example is saying yes when you mean no. You might say yes to something that you don’t really want to do because you feel obligated to do it. Or you might say yes because you feel you need to take care of someone else.
What happens when you say yes and mean no? The communication is confusing. The words and the way it feels in the body don’t match. Let’s say that your child asks for a cookie right before dinner and you say yes when you mean no. Your child might seem happy eating the cookie, but as soon as something happens (they don’t eat dinner, they start acting a little crazy or not sitting still), you immediately snap at them because you really weren’t ok with it when you said yes. This creates confusion for your child because you’re saying yes but it doesn’t feel like a yes.
Can you connect with a time when someone said yes to you but it didn’t feel like a true yes? And what does it feel like for you when someone says yes and they mean yes? What does that feel like in your body?
I want to invite you to play with these ideas and notice what it feels like in your body when someone says yes or no to you, or when you need to say yes or no to someone. Are you in congruence? Or is your body telling a different story?
Our kids are extra sensitive to this, especially as young children. Just be curious today about how this might be showing up in your life!