The Adolescent Brain [Dan Segal]

The Adolescent Brain [Dan Segal]

– defined as running from the age of 12 to 24 (based on many studies showing the brain is not fully developed until this age)
– for many, it can be a time of great challenge & great purpose
– myths about adolescence:
1) raging hormones cause adolescents to “go mad”/”lose their minds”
[actually, it is more to do with changes in the brain]
2) adolescence is a time of immaturity & adolescents simply need to grow-up (& therefore adolescents are just simply something parents need to endure)
[actually adolescents need to not just survive adolescence, but thrive & develop during this period – they need to test boundaries, explore & discover – it is therefore a period of developing core character traits & “identity beliefs” – I.e. how we see ourselves
[parents need to try & re-frame the negative bias/view of adolescence]

– the “healthy mind platter” has 7 ingredients (for adolescents & adults) to keep the mind (& body) strong – increasing neural pathways
1) time-in (self-reflection/self-awareness – of our mental inner lives & bodily sensations – enables us to perceive our feelings, our thoughts [including negative emotions], memories & beliefs, & our intentions, hopes & dreams
2) sleep time (digital gadgets & lights; sleep patterns)
– most teens need a minimum of 8.5 hrs + for optimal mental and physical health
– for neural pathways – memory, physical feeling
– habits: turning screens off for 1 hr before bed; dim lights; try not to work in bed; be mindful of what you consume (tea, coffee, chocolate); warm bath before bed; glass of milk; journal of worries before bed; continuous sleep – monitor for a week
3) focus time – focus on one thing (without distractions) – brain learns best by focusing on one thing – best for neural pathways
4) down-time
– no accomplishment or achievement [different to mind wandering]
– no set goal – limit it – TV, walk, food preparation
– set time aside each day
5) play -time
– laughing / have fun
– just hanging and having fun / play with pet / lunch time at school
– no rigid rules/competition
6) connecting time
– very important – social skills, fun
– more meaningful life | we are happier
– connect also with nature – perspective
7) physical time
– competition sport etc.,
– moving – crucial to brain & mental health (mood) – aerobic exercise
– aids memory
[based on neuroplastic concepts & research]
[assess how much time you do this in a week]
– Rescue time (time management software – online)
– Stay Focused
– Self-Control

Source: BrainTree Podcast | 16 August 2014


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