I am honored and delighted to share this interview with Susie Leonard Weller. She shared with me that children mirror their parent’s brain. I am really curious about this.
Susie teaches Life Skills classes through the Institute for Extended Learning, Adult Basic Education program in Spokane, Washington. She received training through Herrmann International in North Carolina. They studied brain research for over 30 years to improve results at Fortune 500 companies. Susie has applied this research to strengthen family relationships. She is now a Certified Thinking Consultant and her book is Why Don’t You Understand? Improve Family Communication with the 4 Thinking Styles
Susie, I am really curious. What is whole brain thinking?
Susie: Thinking styles are innate preferences for how the brain gathers and processes information in distinct ways. It’s part of who we are. Just like we have a preferred hand to write with, we also have a preferred thinking style. We use our dominant hand more often because it’s easier. In a similar way, our brain requires less effort to talk with someone who shares the same thinking style.
Some people are more left-brained and make logical decisions with their head. Others are more right-brained and make relational decisions with their heart or gut instinct. A whole-brained approach integrates both of the left and the right-brain hemispheres, as well as our intellect and heart.
- No two people are alike. Our brains are wired differently, right from the start.
- Most family squabbles are linked to biological differences in how we think.
- The brain requires 100% more energy to think and communicate in its opposite style.
What styles are there?
Susie: There are four main thinking styles. Imagine the brain as a four-room house. The two upstairs rooms concentrate on problem solving or seeking new solutions. These are called the Logical and Creative thinking styles. The two downstairs rooms focus on handling everyday realities and maintaining relationships. These are called the Practical and Relational thinking styles. Although we might prefer spending more time in some rooms than others, those using a whole-brain approach can access necessary skills from any of these rooms whenever they are needed.
Here’s a brief summary of all four thinking styles:
Focuses on facts
Clarifies the bottom line
Likes to figure out how things work
Focuses on thinking outside the box
Is imaginative and playful
Like to be spontaneous
Focuses on follow through
Likes to plan ahead
Focuses on feelings
Is friendly and supportive
Likes meaningful conversations
How is it that children mirror their parent’s brain?
Susie: Babies are born with “mirror neurons.” They copy everything they see. An infant’s brain is like wet concrete. The earliest impressions make the deepest impact. Experience shapes their brain—both positively and negatively. Repeated patterns become hardwired as established neural pathways. Children “download” their parents’ beliefs and behaviors to survive. By the time children are three years old, about 85% of their brain is already wired with subconscious programming for how to relate to others.
What is the best way to deal with conflict?
Susie: Conflict is a given—even within healthy relationships. The best way to handle conflicts is learning how to respect and leverage our differences. Rather than polarizing people into extreme positions, try to hear the need underlying and fueling their behavior. Learn to speak in ways others understand instead of more “loudly” in your preferred style.
Each thinking style has strengths and challenges. Learn to see them as complementary rather than sources of irritation. For example, when Logicals only focus on the facts and minimize the role of emotions, Relationals feel discounted. And, Relationals need to develop a firm backbone as well as their heart. Likewise, Creatives and Practicals can antagonize each other by refusing to accept each other’s desire to explore options or to make timely decisions.
Opposite styles are like oil and vinegar. They don’t mix easily, but they add great zest to a salad. Rather than take conflicts personally, practice becoming multi-lingual and speak in all four thinking styles whenever needed.
The key to managing conflict is finding win/win solutions to meet each others’ needs. Families are 24/7 learning labs to develop life skills—particularly how to communicate with those who think differently than we do.
How can we best set limits?
Susie: In a half-brained world, discipline styles swing from one extreme to another. But, whole-brained parents know how to balance nurture with structure, as well as to play and problem solve. First, they acknowledge the feelings; then they set an appropriate limit. Adults set clear boundaries and follow through on consequences. Wise parents know when to take charge and when to follow the child’s lead to meet their needs for connection.
What could we do to be a wise parent or a wise communicator?
Susie: Under stress, our brain regresses to a more rigid style. To avoid melt downs, learn to practice the Four C’s of courageous conversations. They will soothe the emotional brain to shift gears more easily to use all four thinking styles as needed.
Logical: Clarify a common goal and code of conduct.
Relational: Care enough to seek understanding (not to prove you’re right) and protect the safety zone so that no one shuts down or becomes aggressive.
Creative: Cultivate choices of both/and rather than either/or positions.
Practical: Commit to practicing mutual respect on a regular basis and express at least five positive comments for every negative one. In my book, I also describe the NARN (Notice, Accept, Reflect & Nurture) Process for shifting the brain to a higher gear when triggered:
1. NOTICE what’s happening—physical, emotional and mental warning signals
2. ACCEPT and work with what is, rather than deny or dismiss it.
3. REFLECT on other possible options to resolve this situation or find ways to re-frame it.
4. NURTURE yourself by choosing a concrete action to calm yourself within this moment—breathe deeply, take a break, stretch, listen to music or hum a song.
In our half brain world, more whole-brain families are needed. Our children will face increasing complexities and challenges. As Albert Einstein said, “The problems we are causing can’t be resolved in the same state of consciousness in which we created them.” Our future depends on our ability to use our whole, creative brain to discover new ways to respect how we think, communicate, relate, play and even pray together.
Thank you Susie. This is a good beginning. How can readers get more information?
You can download FREE excerpts from my book by visiting my website: www.susieweller.com
In addition, for those who contact me, I’ll send a FREE 13-page report with 30 tips for how to calm yourself in stressful moments. They are organized by each thinking style to soothe you from head to toe.
Susie Leonard Weller, M.A. for personal coaching
Call USA (509) 255-6676
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.susieweller.com
Recently I watched the NBC Dateline program on James Arthur Ray and the tragedy with the sweat lodge. As much as I could, I stayed neutral on the situation as far as where the fault lay. Determining fault was not my goal in watching.
Although I had not read James Arthur Ray’s books or listened to his CDs, I was disturbed. Many of the beliefs he espouses are similar to my own beliefs. Although the metaphysical community differs somewhat, most of us believe in love over fear, manifesting by using the law of attraction, and giving to receive. Where I differ, being a licensed mental health counselor for many years is that I counsel that the client, student, participant be safe and I am careful to “do no harm.” Being an intuitive counselor I also share with clients, students, participants to follow their own internal guidance. Although I do intuitive readings, good readers are 80 – 85 % accurate and it is important that my clients listen to themselves above all. Of course, if they are mentally ill and apt to harm themselves or others, that is a different case.
What interested me the most when I watched this show is the question I had. When did their internal guidance break down? Not only the self-guidance of the participants of his workshop, but James Arthur Ray’s self-guidance as well. I wonder about the struggle within each individual between their ego and their intuitive self. At what point does your survival instinct kick in and override your ego?
I have counseled many clients who made poor decisions at the last minute, knowing fully well it was the wrong thing to do, but they did it anyway. It can happen because of peer pressure, interjects (hearing someone else’s voice in their head – usually a parent), or having a situation go on for so long, they lose the internal fight to make the right decision. I have heard this often from clients who married when they knew they shouldn’t have. The day of the wedding they knew it is the wrong move, but they did it anyway. I did that myself. Even though I loved the man and wanted to continue to be together forever, marrying into his family was not what I wanted, and living in a domestic union would have been best for us. But he asked and I said yes. Later we discussed this and he really didn’t want to either, but thought it was what he was expected to do. I am so grateful today I rarely make decisions without checking in with my intuitive self first!
How often do you make poor decisions even though your gut clearly warns you ahead of time? Most of my private practice, my teachings and my writings are about self-healing and following and developing your internal guidance, your intuition.
We all have this ability, though we often give it up as children. We feel pressure from either our parents or our peers. It may be helpful to write out some of the times you said yes, when no was clearly the right decision. Write out when you said no, when every cell in your body knew yes was the best choice. It is important to forgive yourself so you don’t make your past your future, but choose from this day on to breathe, take time to sense and make a decision balanced with your mind, your heart, and your intuitive self!
In this video I assist you in gaining your own intuitive information through the Truth/Lie Rose. I learned this process in a workshop with The Church of Divine Man.
When I awoke yesterday morning I noticed my dog Domingo lying in the small triangle of sunshine in the room. This spurred me to think about how important it is for us to move into the Light.
When I was a young person I often found myself in difficult situations, resisting and arguing and ending up in some pretty dark places, especially within myself. Depression was a common theme and it seems I was often angry and reactive.
Thankfully I have grown through and out of that, but I realize even today, I am extremely affected by my surroundings. The good news is I have choice where I go, who I see, and what I spend my time focusing upon.
You may relate to this as well. Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and their mood changes dramatically over the fall and winter months. Even if you don’t tend to be depressed, negative or reactive, you may respond this way internally if not externally.
Some of the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder are increased appetite and weight gain, increased sleep and drowsiness, social withdrawal, being lethargic, unhappiness and irritability, and loss of interest in work and other activities.
So, what does it mean to move into the Light?I have some ideas.
- Take time to get outdoors during the day, even for 10 – 15 minutes. Take breaks and get sunshine and fresh air to change your mood. Even standing in the rain with an umbrella can be stimulating and clear your head.
- Engage in conversations that are fun and playful, but not at another’s expense.
- Spend more time watching inspirational TV shows and less violence and murder.
- Pull away from the busy-ness of the world and sit quietly and just breathe.
- Read positive, inspirational books.
- Spend time with those you love and focus on them. Play together, laugh together, but leave talk about the work stress for another time.
- Write out a gratitude list. Studies show this is more effective to do weekly than daily.
For Seasonal Affective Disorder, you could also take a weekend trip to somewhere warm like Las Vegas or Reno. Trips are inexpensive and make a big difference. After checking with your doctor you could take Vitamin D. Also, you can use Light Therapy. Light panels are available online at Amazon under $100. I have used them in the past and they work great! Enjoy pulling in and also getting out!
You can purchase one of these Light Therapy Lamps by following this link to Amazon:
In this video you will learn to Run Cosmic Energy and clear others energy out of your energy field. Cosmic Energy is also called the Christ Light!
In this Energy Medicine DNA video you will learn a simple tool of grounding your energy. This will assist your body in feeling safe and also help you to manifest your creations.
The media alerts us to remember 9/11 on this 10th anniversary. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones. I remember the day well. Awakened by my alarm, I turned the TV on to bring me gently into the world after a good night sleep. News flashed immediately with the intensity of alert. I saw the twin towers and the smoke. I allowed myself less than a minute of this before I switched it off.
My immediate reaction, instinct I suppose, was to protect myself. I understand that others may have felt safe watching the news and trying to understand. For me, my first thought was this is big, and I knew people would be watching TV and absorbing the fear as if it were poisonous gas. I knew wherever I went and with whomever I spoke, others would be full of anger, fear and pain. I wanted none of it.
Being an energy healer, immediately, I made a decision to have a different experience than the one the media fed. Motivated to holding the space of love and light, I took a couple deep breaths and focused up out of the top of my head into the heavens. I envisioned a golden white Light, what I call the Christ Light. I felt the energy come down through the top of my head into my body and felt the incredible vibration of love illuminating every cell of my body. It felt incredible! I understood that I had control over how I felt during this time of crisis. I also knew that suffering due to this tragedy was not helpful to anyone. There was nothing of value in my being fearful or in pain.
At the time of perceived and real crisis, I chose to be detached from the sensationalism of the media. My awareness was heightened realizing how I could control how I felt and what I experienced. This was a practice of learning to control my feelings rather than having my feelings control me. The mind can be used to control physical pain as well.
When we lose people in a crisis such as this, grief is a natural, healing response. It is important to have clear boundaries though, and to feel your own pain and not take on the pain of others. Holding the space for others healing by being present to them allows them their pain. It it is definitely important to feel your feelings. It is also important to understand that what you choose to focus on is your choice and you can increase your feelings of happiness, gratitude, fear or anger.
On this anniversary of September 11th, choose to feel gratitude for your country. Remember your loved ones, all your loved ones who have passed and hold the space for those who are currently grieving. Take time to focus on the positive and lift someone’s spirit! Be present to others, love, and be happy.
Remember we are one people, more similar than different, all over the world!
Bless your hearts!