Welcome to #write28days of Nervous System Regulation! We have made it to day 17!
Today’s focus is the word “reflections.”
My father bought a boat when I was a teen, and named it Reflections, deep man that he always was – it was a play on the reflections off the water, and him “reflecting” back to his past and his own father’s boat.
There’s a part of the nervous system that “reflects” too – neurons that fire when we observe others, and they are called our “mirror neurons.” An interesting thing is that they fire in the exact same way when we are aware of an action as when we perform it ourselves. It doesn’t have to be visual, we can hear an action that we recognize, and the mirror neurons will fire as if we did that same action.
Mirror neurons are thought to be important to interpreting the actions and facial expressions of others, in imitation and learning, language development, and empathy.
They are also why we feel weird when our parents (or other loved ones) are in a bad mood or have negative expressions on their faces, even as infants. They help us figure out when our caregivers themselves are dysregulated and are either under or over-reacting to things.
These neurons can also potentially be used to help us heal from trauma, as watching someone else be supported and comforted may help us feel as if it is somehow happening to us.
The brain is an amazing social organ!
I collated the information from various journals and articles. I do not have the bandwidth to quote and cite. If you are looking for a place that does that, this is not that blog. 😉