Friday, October 31, 2014 at 2:55 am
“Stressed Brains Don’t Learn,” Says Director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research
3 Tips ENSURE Learning in Spite of Stress
Best-selling author of Brain Rules, John Medina, explains that the less we feel in control of stress, the more we experience the type of stress that hurts learning. “If you feel out of control of your life,” says Medina, “you are more likely to experience depression and anxiety disorders” that impede learning. When stress is perceived to be within our control, however, it can be helpful to the learning process. We can reverse the effects of chronically extreme levels of stress that feel beyond our control in powerful ways that are simpler than we think.
Simple may not feel easy to some of us at first, but WE CAN practice in positive changes that rewire the brain and reboot the body for learning. Life, work and school can once again feel like what it was intended to be: engaging, driven, exciting, and fun.
Tip 1: Control
Remember, when we feel more control over the stress we experience, we feel more power over our lives. This permits more learning. It turns out that greater self-control over our reactions and emotions, no matter how much stress we’re under, is key. Five decades of research, recently summarized by researchers at Syracuse University, shows that those of us with better self-control ultimately fare better in school and in life. Very basic sensory tools allow us to gain more control over our stress response so that we feel empowered to handle our fair share of challenge. Please find an extensive teaching of these sensory tools at www.DrMelrose.com, in previous blogs as well as in my books and resources on and offline.
Tip 2: Sleep
Sleep lowers the dangerous levels of cortisol that are released in the brain and body throughout a frantic day, and this, according to Medina, allows the brain to calm itself enough to rehearse the things it learned that day, thousands of times. When stress hormones, like cortisol, are too high, the part of the brain that adapts, assimilates, and consolidates information does not function well at all. Most of learning happens during a good night’s sleep. Isn’t that ironic? All this time, we thought learning was happening in classrooms! If you’re having trouble sleeping, please know that the simple sensory tools needed for the self-control discussed in Tip 1, are also needed for falling and staying asleep. This is not a coincidence.
Tip 3: Exercise
The sensory tools needed for better sleep and more self-control cause critical structural changes to the brain, and physiological changes to the nervous system, as does exercise. According to Medina, “miracle grow for the brain,” a protein called BDNF, boosts learning for everyone, regardless of level of intelligence. This protein is released in spades during aerobic exercise. Studies show that learning outcomes increase by 22 per cent right after students exercise. Alzheimer’s and dementia are reduced by 50 per cent through exercise, while anxiety and depression are alleviated with an 80 per cent success rate, the same success rate as with the popular anti-depressant, Zoloft. It turns out that exercise, sleep, and the sensory tools needed for self-control, all reduce cortisol levels so that the executive functioning part of the brain can do the learning it was intended to do.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 3:15 am
For some people, it certainly does! It’s important to recognize that in three to five per cent of the population, a brain scan, often due to genetics, will reveal lowered cortical activity in the prefrontal area of the brain causing symptoms of impulsivity, distractibility, and inattentiveness. That’s when the right kind of medication and behavioral intervention is effective. We’ve been fooled into thinking, however, that ADHD is more prevalent than it is by the increasing number of people who look like they could use a chill pill. The symptoms are real, no question, but the causes are misunderstood. When we ignore causes and treat symptoms with medication only, we can end up with years of consequences in the form of debilitating side effects: loss of sleep, increased anxiety, irritability, and moodiness.
The point of this controversial yet extremely important new book is that the way we are living our lives today is responsible for the development and chronicity of so many difficult symptoms. When the author, Richard Saul, who is also a neurologist, asked his patients to make changes to their lifestyle, insomnia, hyperactivity, lack of focus, and poor task performance went away. Such challenging behaviors were replaced with a better capacity to fall and stay asleep, improved concentration, achievement, and greater ease. Read more…
Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 5:35 am
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Many of you have been asking for training in how to implement 60 Seconds, the effective sensory toolkit featured in the bestselling book, The 60 Seconds Fix, as well as the K-12 curriculum, Brain Charge.
HERE IT IS! A rare event this will be, so don’t miss your chance to have a really fun, informative day with the dynamic Dr. Reggie.
Visit HERE to see her in action!
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 1:34 am
Don’t miss this RARE opportunity to see Dr. Reggie in action. As many of you already know, she catches fire. She motivates with practical tools that begin working right away. Come over to Irvine and start off the new school year INSPIRED.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 11:25 pm
We made it! Summer is here, and we get another opportunity to regroup! Our summers pass quickly, I know, but I’ve just learned something new that will help us use our time most enjoyably while creating big change for personal good. After reading the most recent edition of Scientific American (June, 2014), we can feel validated, even vindicated that, thanks to resources like The 60 Seconds Fix and Brain Charge, we now have right action at the top of our list of priorities. “Go sensory or go home,” is how one colleague puts it. An abundance of science supports our daily choice of sensory experiences that are soothing, over long conversations about how we’re going to solve a problem, accomplish a goal, or make a change. “Going sensory” allows with ease the greatest shifts we hope to make, for more calm, greater well-being, and healthier habits. Read more…
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 5:48 am
The end of 2013 was rough: Producing, launching, and promoting The 60 Seconds Fix tested my tools like never before. While I was busy inspiring greater peace and balance through 60 Seconds, I lost mine. The loss was brief but intense, and I can still see how I continue to learn from the experience. In fact, a lot of learning is happening in 2014, all while I receive such positive feedback from all of you regarding beautiful changes brought on from the utilization of 60 Seconds. Thank you for your inspiring shares, and for getting the book on Amazon’s bestseller list! Most importantly, without the specific tools of 60 Seconds, I know I could have ended up in far worse shape and remained there longer. I pushed myself to the brink of disaster by engaging in something our brains are NOT hardwired to do: MULTITASK! I know this is hard to believe, so please read for yourself: ‘What Multitasking Does To Our Brains’
Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 6:47 am
About the Book:
The 60 Seconds Fix is now a best-selling book on Amazon! Check out the reviews on Amazon to hear readers describe in detail its effectiveness. It’s for ANYONE ANYWHERE ANYTIME. Dr. Reggie gives us five little tools in one little minute, based on current neuroscience, to help us lead more joyful, less stressed lives.
Visit the60secondsfix.com for more information!
Watch the book trailer on YouTube!
cut to the chase. A fun and refreshing way to become as productive as you
want to be!”
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 4:55 am
Eliminate your discipline referrals with 60 Seconds! The most recent data shows that in a ninth grade history class, there was an 87% decrease in behavioral redirection for mild to moderate disruptions. The teacher went from giving 47 disciplinary redirects per month to only 6 after the students learned and practiced 60 Seconds daily. The first signs of this dramatic decrease occurred within the first week of utilizing 60 Seconds. In the more severe disciplinary category, the incidence of referrals to the principal’s office decreased 100%, from 3 to 0 per month. Read more…
Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 3:23 am
After a year of collecting data in the U.S. and Canada at four different public schools (one elementary, middle, and two high), the surveys show astounding results! Across the board, both students and staff report, on average, a 20% decrease in stress and tension, with a corresponding increase in calm and focus, after just one time using 60 Seconds! Read more…
Friday, June 7, 2013 at 3:05 am
…..With summer on the way it would serve us ALL well to reconsider the amount of time we spend on technological gadgets: television, telephone, computer, ipad, x-box, wii, etc. Neuroscientific findings are mounting to confirm that these activities change our brain, the prefontal cortex in particular (Small, 2008). While not all these changes are bad, studies reveal that the more time spent online, the more the brain shows signs of atrophy, such as abnormal white matter and structural abnormalities in gray matter (Dokoupil, 2012). After extensive research on the subject, in his Pulitzer Prize nominated book, The Shallows, Nicholas Carr cautions that the Internet is leaving people feeling more anxious and compulsive. Read more…
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 3:51 am
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 1:38 am
Scientific American recently published an article that explained how our brains are changed by early family turmoil. Even sleeping infants exposed to the sounds of family arguments demonstrated changes to the part of their brain responsible for regulating emotions and stress. It is now unequivocal that infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents are exquisitely sensitive to the environment in which their brain is developing, and that “environment” is not just at home, but at school as well. The choices we make as parents and educators have a profound effect on the children in our care, and it is never too late to make a better, healthier choice for the brain. The most important message of the article is that “damage is unlikely to be permanent…when professionals offer the right treatments…those [that] directly target the neurological changes.” We know the neurological changes made by stress – any kind of stress when beyond mild to moderate – affects the capacity to regulate arousal and emotions in our children and in us. We can do much to ensure that we are regulated as parents and educators, within our zone of optimal arousal, so that the children in our care benefit from that. Read more…
Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 2:22 am
Brain Charge, the K-12 curriculum that increases sensory awareness for self-regulation and student achievement, is currently in several schools in both the U.S. and Canada. The aim of the program is to make it easy and fun for teachers AND their students to reduce stress and increase success. Other programs and curricula offer the same reward yet can be more time-consuming than is pragmatic for the everyday classroom teacher. For example, research is supporting mindfulness meditation in schools, a brain-training technique based on using your breath to achieve mental clarity. However, my passion and mission with Brain Charge is to demonstrate that this can be achieved in far less time and much more practical ways. Preliminary evidence of Brain Charge indicates that it takes only “60 Seconds” to reduce stress and feel the good feelings that propel our best performance, students and educators alike. Read more…
Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 3:57 am
In a previous blog, I reported a research study conducted at USC Marshall School of Business as reported in the Los Angeles Times on July 10, 2011. The more I speak to educators, parents, and mental health practitioners across North America, the more I realize that this “chocolate cake study” could be the single most important study of our time. It perfectly simplifies our focus, no matter what our vocation, and soundly illustrates why these two following tips need to be our focus: Read more…
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm
…..”How Children Succeed” is an important new book written by Paul Tough. In it the author compiles recent research that points to the essential contribution of NON-cognitive skills to children’s success. Many researchers and educators are now grouping together these skills “under the rubric self-regulation.” Self-regulation is what supports “an inclination to persist at a boring and often unrewarding task; the ability to delay gratification; [and] the tendency to follow through on a plan,” all so necessary to academic achievement and beyond. According to Tough, researchers are finding that non-cognitive factors such as “curiosity, self-control, and social fluidity” do more to lead to desired outcomes than more traditional pre-academic skills.
…..More than anything else, what impairs the capacity to self-regulate, and therefore succeed, is stress and the complex series of chemical reactions in the body that it elicits. At this physiological level is where solutions are found. We can give the “brain-body” – our physiology – the exact antidote it needs to eradicate the effects of stress in just a few simple ways. Read more…
Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 8:58 am
Brain Charge feedback from Patrick Henry Elementary School already SO ENCOURAGING: Two teachers attended a recent PTA meeting to share with the parents how wonderful Brain Charge has been for their students. One teacher told the parents that for the first time in her teaching career, not one of her students broke into tears before having to take a timed math test. On the contrary, the students eased into the test, and thus were able to give their best performance. Data will be collected throughout the school year and available for review in the spring. Before we know it, this revolutionary K-12 curriculum will be evidenced-based and bridging the gap between what science knows and what education does! Join the movement today by purchasing your copy of the curriculum at www.DrMelrose.com.
Friday, September 21, 2012 at 5:04 am
BRIDGE THE GAP between what science knows and what education does! Finally! Come enjoy an engaging, fun day of learning, growing, and realizing what we REALLY want in education. All the steps and tools are available to you to create the best year in education you’ve ever had! This season’s seminar is called, “Helping Students Under Stress: Eliminate Bullying and Re-Engage its Victims.” It’s being offered October 4th in San Diego; October 5th in Anaheim; October 11th in Concord; and, October 12th in Sacramento. Don’t miss it! I have launched my K-12 curriculum called, Brain Charge: Sensory Awareness for Student Achievement, full of all the steps and tools you’ll need to bring self-regulation to every one of your students – and many of these tools take only seconds to do. I’ll lead you through them and share with you all the fantastic success stories we’ve already had relieving students of the stress of bullying no matter what end of it they’re on. We can now prevent and intervene with every kind of learning and behavior problem you encounter and I am so excited to have the opportunity to share with you every resource. Please pass this invitation on to all of your California friends and colleagues. If you are an LCSW, LPCC, LMFT, or LEP, 6 CEUs are available to you at no extra cost. Visit www.ideasunlimitedseminars.com/presenters/reggie-melrose.html to register and I can’t wait to see you in October!
Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 7:44 am
Brain Charge was just launched in Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) schools!! Self-regulation for every student is REVOLUTIONARY and it is happening in my own backyard! I can’t tell you how thrilled I am. Thanks to all of you for supporting this new and exciting venture in K-12 education. Please see the attached flyer, previewed below, for more details. I hope all of you are off to a fantastic new school year!
Get your copy of Brain Charge today at www.drmelrose.com
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 11:00 pm
SELF-REGULATION is the single most important foundational capacity for all of learning and adaptive behavior. So how do we ensure that every student possess it? BRAIN CHARGE, the new K-12 curriculum, does just that. Self-regulation in our students eradicates bullying, violence, anger, aggression, substance abuse, cutting, promiscuity, teen pregnancy, excessive video gaming, and so many other concerns of our time. Simply and with ease we may now adopt the specific tools necessary to develop and sustain the self-regulatory state so essential to both achievement and joy! The curriculum, subtitled, “Sensory Awareness for Student Achievement,” is full of diagrams, scripts, tools, checklists, and activities, most of which take only SECONDS to do. If you want to see changes in your classroom environment quickly, this program is what you need. It is based on all current neuroscience, to support you in your desire to stop doing what you know isn’t working. Right now you don’t know what else to do. Brain Charge gives you step by step directions on what else to do! Everything you need in order to see and be the difference you’ve been wanting is right here in this program. No one wants to have the same old year as last…this will radically change your teaching experience to create more joy, fun, and success than ever before. Learn more about Brain Charge at my website DrMelrose.com and order your copy today!
Saturday, June 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm
A recent neuroscientific article was published in the New York Times entitled, “Post-Prozac Nation.” It offered more evidence that clarified yet again the importance of doing just one thing. In order to regulate emotions to remain in the optimum zone of arousal necessary for success, there is only one most essential action to take: inaction. Sitting in stillness for as long as we can changes the brain in ways that are critical to the improvements we need to see in education and parenting RIGHT NOW. Sitting in stillness – in a mindful way – is medicine to the brain because it is the opposite experience – the antidote – to the stressful “doing, doing, doing” that we engage in now. Our constant and rather mindless “doing” is causing our brain-body to degenerate, quite literally. Our current way of life is producing a degree of stress and thereby cortisol that is causing the significant loss of neurons and neural pathways in the parts of our brain that regulate emotion. Eventually, when stress is constant, as it is for all of us today, including our children, the brain-body shuts down and causes the apathy we see all around us, especially in our schools. Read more…
Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 1:05 am
We all had a dream of what life would be like once we had our children, but few of us are living it. Reality happens and, sometimes, it is far from what we had envisioned. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can do better. Whether we have a tantruming toddler, a school-aged child not wanting to go to school, or a teenager that’s checking out more and more, there are so many resources available to us that can REALLY create the change we want to see; but WE have to seek them out, do the work, and BE the change! Read more…
Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 3:26 am
I wish I could say that hearing of another 8-year-old wanting to die is a rare occurrence for me. It has become so common that I must write today to implore each and every one of us to examine how anything like this is even remotely possible! And why so many of us have become habituated to it! When the mother of this child explained the degree of pressure he feels at school, though an excellent student and classroom citizen, it affirmed for me yet again to continue my effort to wake us all up to live, love, and educate a different way. Read more…
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 5:20 am
I learned more in 2011 than I have in any other year. When stress is greatest, and we are not at our best because of it, we are presented with a big opportunity for change. The economy has created for many of us the loss of our livelihood, our homes, our relationships or our loved ones. Though this has called for reflection, recovery and repair, great change from these losses can come when we welcome change rather than resist it – when we allow for a new way to emerge from the ashes, and we choose to recognize the opportunity presented. The following 3 tips are how I found my power after losses in 2011 that felt beyond my control. Read more…
Monday, December 5, 2011 at 11:32 pm
Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 4:33 am
1. FOCUS ON PRIDE NOT SHAME:
In a recent study reported in the Los Angeles Times, an important finding was made with HUGE implications for both education and parenting: When it comes to self-regulation and self-control, anticipating pride for good behavior helps us behave much better than anticipating shame for bad behavior. In fact, “the more we anticipate public humiliation and guilt, the worse we’re likely to do when it comes to self-control. If we focus on the pride that comes from good behavior, we make better choices, by far.” What we focus on matters. Neuroscientist Richard Davidson, for example, focuses not on fixing what is wrong with conditions like ADHD and Autism, but on revising our minds with life-enriching experiences. This is how we change the brain – in the desired direction! Read more…
Friday, September 23, 2011 at 6:30 am
Forgive me for re-posting this link but I need to make some corrections. This “trailer” or montage was put together to market and promote my work as a provider of professional development. I am blogging the link to encourage you to forward it to any educator or mental health practitioner you know. It is likely that someone you know will know someone that would hire me for their next professional development day. And that would be so great! Thanks for your help.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 5:20 am
While visiting friends over the summer, I was disheartened to find that even those I most admire – smart, successful, loving people – are choosing a path for their children that leaves them all miserable. The stress in the home was palpable. After a LONG day at summer camp, even their 5-year-old was subjected to drilling of math facts at 8:30 at night. In the summer! The poor girl was squirming down her chair to try to disappear under the table, whining, and stating over and over again how much she hated this, that she didn’t want to be doing this. It was painful to watch. When I suggested to the father that this not be insisted upon at this time in this way, he actually said, “We all need to work. She has to get used to work.” “REALLY?!” I thought, “At 5?!” Read more…
Monday, May 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm
I just had the privilege of delivering the commencement speech to the very first graduates of the phenomenal charter school, Wildwood Environmental Academy, in Perrysburg, Ohio. I hope you will agree that its message is worth repeating here: An American independent film maker, Woody Allen, once said: Ninety per cent of success is showing up. So to all of you, dear graduates, for showing up, today, and all the days and years of your education, congratulations on your success! You did it! And this is your reward…If 90% of success is showing up, according to Allen, the New York Times recently explained the other 10%. According to their article, the necessary ingredient for a healthy life filled with joy and a sense of well-being (how I define success), is something called, “self-compassion:” the ability to love and forgive yourself even though you are not perfect, you aren’t right all the time, you make mistakes, you even fail. Read more…
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 5:50 am
There is no escaping the collapse of this economy, it seems. We are either losing our job or home, or we know and love someone else who is. Educators have received their “pink slips” as budgets continue to be slashed, and foreclosures are everywhere. I have not been immune to this terrible time in our history as I face both the final stages of losing my home as well as the least busy summer season of my career. It would be easy to succumb to the grimness of it all if I wasn’t a person who practices what she preaches! Read more…
Friday, April 29, 2011 at 4:21 am
Students are not just angrier today than ever before, they are checked out, shut down, disengaged, unmotivated, and violent towards themselves and others. They go from zero (zoned out) to ten (raging) and back down to zero within a space of a few minutes multiple times throughout the day. It behooves us as educators and parents. We don’t know where the behavior comes from or what we can do about it and, because of that, our high school drop out rates are at a staggering incline, as are rates of mental health disorders and suicide in both children and adolescents. Join me online to understand who our students are today, how their brain works optimally, and how we can prevent all the challenges we face as we try to educate our youth. When faced with that shut down or angry student, learn what the most time-efficient, practical, and successful choices are that we can make. Read more…