Monday, September 30, 2013

Conscious parenting

When does it begin?  When do we start developing our sub- and un-conscious mind?  Many would guess this begins at birth, however, Dr. Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D a leading cellular biologist, would disagree and has gone on to prove that our cells hold memory.  If our cells hold memory which is influenced by not only our thoughts and experiences but the thoughts and experiences of those around us, it would be safe to say that this begins at conception.  After all, we are a ball of cells!

Think back to conception.  Not yours, silly, your child's.  Although, if you think about your own conception, much of who you are was developed then.  Back to the conception of your child(ren).  Where you excited or where you scared, did you receive any bad news during your pregnancy, was there financial stress, any stress?  We all have some stress and having a baby brings about SO many anticipated changes, I would guess that many of us have stressed over bringing a new life into the world.  I know I did!!  I wish I knew then, what I know now.  I would have started meditating much earlier. 

From Dr. Lipton's book "The Biology of Belief"

To quote Dr. Thomas Verny, a pioneer in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychiatry: "Findings in the peer-reviewed literature over the course of decades establish, beyond any doubt, that parents have overwhelming influence on the mental and physical attributes of the children they raise." (Verny and Kelly 1981)  And that influence starts, says Verny, not after children are born, but BEFORE children are born. 

Another pioneer in pre- and perinatal psychology, David Chamberlain writes in his book The Mind of Your Newborn Baby: "The truth is, much of what we have traditionally believed about babies is false.  They are not simple beings but complex and ageless-small creatures with unexpectedly large thoughts." (Chamberlain 1998)  These complex, small creatures have a pre-birth life in the womb that profoundly influences their long-term health and behavior.  "The quality of life in the womb, our temporary home before we were born, programs our susceptibility to coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and a multitude of other conditions in later life," writes Dr. Peter W. Nathanielsz in Life in the Womb: The Origin of Health and Disease.  (Nathanielssz 1999)  

The responsiveness of individuals to the environmental conditions perceived by their mothers before birth allows them to optimize their genetic and phsiologic development as they adapt to the environmental forecast.  The same life-enhancing epigenetic plasticity of human development can go awry and lead to an array of chronic diseases in older age if an individual experences adverse nutritional and environmental circumstances during fetal and neonatal periods of development.  (Bateson, et al, 2004)

The same epigenetic influences also continue after the child is born.  In particular, fascinating new research is emphasizing the importance of good parenting in the development of the brain.  "For the growing brain of a young child, the social world supplies the most important experiences influencing the expression of genes, which determines how neurons connect to one another in creating the neuronal pathways which give rise to mental activity," writes Dr. Daniel J. Siegel in The Developing Mind (Siegel 199) In other words, infants need a nurturing environment to activate the genes that develop healthy brains.  Parents, the latest science reveals, continue to act as genetic engineers even after the birth of their children.

Well crap!  I wish I read this before conception.  So what now?

Dr. Lipton tells us of new scientific discoveries about the biochemical effects of the brain's functioning showing that all the cells of our body are affected by our thoughts.  He shows us how genes and DNA do not control our biology, instead, DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including energetic messages from our positive and negative thoughts.

I'm not one to dwell on the past, so it's great news to learn that we can still manage change.  I am a glass half-full kind of gal.  Moving on...

What steps can we take to change the course of old thought patterns?

The Healing Code - Dr. Lipton is a fan of The Healing Code and is quoted throughout Dr. Lloyd's book.   You will learn how to apply the Universal Healing Code which is capable of re-programing damaging thought patterns.  It only takes minutes each day and can have a profound impact on a multitude of ailments.

Meditation - There is nothing easier than changing a grumpy mood with a few minutes of meditation! Other than maybe winning the lottery. (wink)  Just fifteen minutes a day can change your life.  I find meditation to be the single most effective tool in our energy shifting toolbox at home.

Meditation taps into four different brainwaves: Beta, Alpha, Theta, and lastly Delta. These groups are each associated with specific states of your mind.

Beta Wave: Your current brain wave stage, where your conscious mind is awake and alert.  
Alpha Wave: The beginning stages of meditation. Your brain is relaxed at this state, this is where all fears vanish and creativity flourishes.  
Theta Wave: At this stage you are in a dream like state of mind where inspiration can occur. It’s also known to give you a sensation of “floating.”  
Delta Wave: The Delta brain wave is the slowest activity of all waves. Achieved by the most experienced meditators. They experience a dreamless sleep.

A simple article in The Huffington Post says it well

Studies show that meditation is associated with improvement in a variety of psychological areas, including stress, anxiety, addiction, depression, eating disorders and cognitive function, among others. There's also research to suggest that meditation can reduce blood pressure, pain response, stress hormone levels and even cellular health. But what does it actually do to the body?
For one thing, it changes our brain. The cells and neurons in the brain are constantly making new connections and disrupting old ones based on response to stimuli, a quality that researchers call experience-based neuroplasticity. This affects the neural circuits of the brain, which in turn affects how we respond to situations. It also affects the actual structure of our brains -- thickening some areas and making others less dense. 

"Think of the end of a neuron as a hand, with thousands of 'fingers,'" said Dr. Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital who studies mindfulness meditation. "The number of fingers relates to the number of interconnections between neurons and that number can change -- one reason it can change is due to stress."

If meditation is new to you, or it just doesn't come as second nature, there are many methods of practice you can try.  There are guided meditation CDs which really help you tune out the chatter, there are classes where you can learn in person or you can just continue to practice adding a little time to each meditation session you experience. The internet can be your best friend on these topics!

To teach young children about mindful breathing techniques and meditation, I love the MindUP! curriculum which even teaches them where in the brain we are effecting by practicing mindful breathing.

Frequency/vibrational healing - It comes in all shapes and sizes from homeopathic medicine to psychic readings.  There is likely to be at least one modality that will work for you.  Each one of these methods can require it's own library, so to save on time I will just provide you with a list of the more common methods worth looking into.  If you find that you resonate with any one of these, take that cue as a sign to educate yourself about it, or better yet, make an appointment with a practitioner!

Chakra balancing
Body Talk
Quantum Touch
Polarity Therapy
Pranic Healing

When all else fails, get moving - Yoga, Qigong, cardio, weights, a bike ride, swimming, whatever floats your boat, just get moving.  It will give you a serotonin boost while taking your mind off of everything else. 

Get inspired!!  There is no time like the present to start a new pattern and since children learn best from modelling, what better way to teach your kids how to manage their emotions than to do it WITH them?!  Change starts with YOU!

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