#neuroscience shows contempt and harsh words ruin immune systems and leave brain scars. Solution: resonant language.
Vancouver, Washington (PRWEB) September 12, 2017
One of the newest branches of brain research, relational neurobiology, shows that being met with warm understanding creates resilience, while being received with neutrality shortens our lifespans, and being received with contempt negatively impacts our immune systems and harms our neural connections, making self-compassion and self-acceptance nearly impossible.
"The way we use language with each other shows how much we value the relationship, how much we respect the other person, and how closely we are listening to each other. Our language will also reveal our contempt, our impatience, and how little energy we have for connection."
Using brain scans, scientists can now see the scars in children's brains from the use of dismissive or cruel language, not to mention the aftereffects of neglect and more physical abuse. Though the childhood chant, “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” has been comforting to generations of children, scientific evidence now knows that, in fact, the opposite is true.
Being physically abused leaves marks on the body, but abuse of any kind also leaves marks on the brain, impacting trust and the capacity to relax. Many people struggle with anxiety, PTSD, low self-esteem and depression without having any idea that it is the result of a kind of relational starvation. People can use substances like alcohol or marijuana and activities like shopping or playing video games to manage brains that have never been supported by warm understanding.
"The way we talk to ourselves has an effect, too. People will say to themselves something like, ‘Sarah, how could you be so stupid? You’ll never learn,” and believe that they have kept this inner contempt and cruelty hidden. People believe that this use of language, because no one else hears it, is okay. But just as contempt from others makes people get more colds and flus, and makes it harder to heal wounds, self-contempt tears away at our health and shortens our lives."
Luckily the latest neurobiological research also shows that human brains are neuroplastic; they can grow and change regardless of age, genetic predisposition or adverse childhood experiences. When humans use warm and understanding language with themselves and each other to put their brains into a neuroplastic place, it is possible to heal relational trauma, improve immune systems and develop a profound sense of meaning and self-acceptance. Over time, the warmth transforms the way humans respond to their upset selves and they become increasingly more effective and resonant "inner parents", increasing resilience and enjoyment of life.
Much of the research is still buried in research papers, but Peyton’s new book, Your Resonant Self: Guided Meditations and Exercises to Engage Your Brain's Capacity for Healing, translates the latest research into how human brains affect one another into a clear, accessible and usable blueprint to awaken people's capacity for self-love and well-being.
Asked to summarize the book, Sarah Peyton compresses her writing about how the brain is transformed by the language we use into six words: “Heal your words, heal your life.”