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Brain Care - Supporting Healthy Emotional Development

by Linda Gilkerson
May/June 1998
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/brain-care-supporting-healthy-emotional-development/5012166/

The World of Emotions

Infants around the world use the same facial expressions to communicate basic human emotions. Different cultures and families develop display rules that influence which emotions can be shown, in what context, and to what degree. Recognizing and expressing emotions is a specialty of the right hemisphere. Because the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, the left side of the face tends to be more emotionally expressive. Is this true for you?

Go Systems and Stop Systems

Emotional responses involve the body in ways that thoughts alone do not. Anger is associated with increased heart rate and increased body temperature; fear with increased heart rate and decreased body temperature; and happiness with decreased heart rate and stable body temperature.

These body changes are regulated by the autonomic nervous system, the nerves, which reach from the spinal cord to the glands, organs, and muscles of the body. The autonomic nervous system has two separate, yet complementary, halves. The sympathetic nervous system revs us up - increases heart rate and blood pressure, decreases saliva (dry mouth), slows digestion, dilates pupils, and increases the production of adrenaline. The parasympathetic nervous system calms us down - brings the heart rate ...

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