Understanding Mirror Neurons to Find Our Humanness

I am absolutely fascinated with the brain. I have learned first hand in its ability to change and grow while raising my son with some processing variabilities. And I have also unfortunately learned first hand in its ability to waste away while watching my mom battle Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). No doubt the brain holds so much power over who we are, and that is why we need to understand the concept of mirror neurons.

As Elena shares in Chapter 5 of Onward, our emotions are contagious. This is science – not just a metaphor. We have brain cells called mirror neurons that respond to the actions and emotions of others. She shares the need to have calm, focused, and self-aware adults in our school systems to increase the likelihood that our students will also be calm, focused, and self-aware. What an empowering concept!

And then I watched this TEDTalk by Shelly Richardson Mirror Neurons: Causing Change Within Others. Here last line, “You’ll never know the difference you make when you are creating the community that you want to keep”, should be motivation enough to watch it, but if you need more think about this that she also shares: “If you want to live in a community that you make…you have to turn on other people’s mirror neurons. You have to get inside their head to make the change…So don’t stop creating the community that you want. Don’t ever ever give up if you know it is the right thing to do because you need to encourage humanness. We need to encourage human rights. We’ve got to stop ignoring people.”

Please watch this 9 minute TEDTalk now and continue making a difference in this world!