Use Your Wizard Brain over Your Lizard Brain!

Posted On: May 9, 2019

“BrainWise – Stop and Think” summarizes our program in three words. The 10 Wise Ways help all individuals-as young a five as well as adults-learn skills that help them prevent problems and cope with the many situations that cause life stress. Learning skills to stop and think, also called executive function, has life-long benefits that promote mental wellness and physical health.

We teach that when thinking skills are not developed or when they are partially learned or compromised by adversity and stress, individuals fall back on the embedded survival responses of the Lizard Brain. When they learn the 10 Wise Ways, they know they have tools to replace impulsive, non-thinking reactions with responses that include thinking about different choices and the consequences of each one.

This particular lesson, visualized on accompanying brain worksheets, demonstrates why learning Wizard Brain thinking, along with the skills that help manage the Lizard Brain, is important. Each time individuals learn a new skill, they are asked to draw a line showing how the skill helps them build a brain connection.

Because students and clients are able to understand the 10 Wise Ways, some instructors erroneously think they have learned the information. Terms like “lizard brain,” “wizard brain,” “constellation of support,” “red flags,” and “emotions elevator” are easily understood and facilitate the retention of the concepts.

However, application of the 10 Wise Ways requires practice, especially as the higher level thinking skills are taught. Also, the material may be new for many individuals, and expecting them to quickly learn Wizard Brain thinking is like expecting someone to learn the alphabet and then immediately know how to read.

Practice is key to retention and use. The concrete imagery and simplicity of language that makes BrainWise concepts easy to retain, also makes it easy to integrate them into reinforcement activities, just like reading material reinforces reading skills.

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