In this way, fear and anxiety effectively shut down higher order thinking.
This is why social emotional learning is so important!
The ability to manage one's emotions is a necessary skill that not only play's an integral role in academics,
but most importantly overall happiness and well being.
"Adele Diamond, a neuroscientist and founder of developmental cognitive neuroscience, found that students who learn
social emotional learning techniques consistanly score higher on tests because it requires the use of the brains's
executive functions, such as coordination and controlling, monitoring, troubleshooting, reasoning and imagining
(2007). Furthermore, Adele Diamond's research findings simply indicate that the "happy brain" works better. When we
are happy and engaged in activities that we find pleasurable, our brain is flushed with dopamine, a neurotransmitter
that also helps filter and increase higher level thinking in the prefrontal cortex. Dopamine helps get our brains ready for
peak performance. The dopamine pleasure surge is highest when students are fully engaged with their learning and
brimming with positive feelings such as optimism, gratitude, hope, and an overall sense of well being. Classroom
activities that give rise to pleasure surge and prompt the release of dopamine include:
Of course, dopamine is also released when people indulge in high risk activities such as drug and alcohol abuse,
promiscuity, fast driving and overeating. However, when kids get their pleasure sure from activities that generate
positive feeling overall, they are less likely to seek it in high-risk activities that also promote dopamine release
(Galvan, et al., 2006; Kann et al, 2006)."
The Human brain is wired up to respond to stress as if something were immediatley theatening, often placing us
at the mercy of our physical and emotional responses. Yet, we can actually train our brains to respond
reflectively. The brain's response to stress is linked to the amygdala, a small almond shaped clump of neurons
deep in the center of our brain. When we are calm and peaceful, the filter is wide open and information flows to
the prefrontal cortex, where the brain's so called executive functions take place.