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30 colossal Dr. Dan Siegel quotes that will make you laugh and think [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Oct 5, 2017 3:00:00 PM

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30 colossal Dr Dan Siegel quotes that will make you laugh and think

As a New York best-selling author of thirteen books Dr Dan Siegel is no stranger to the world of psychiatry. He teaches in at the UCLA school of medicine and innovated the field of interpersonal Neurobiology. His work helps to get a clearer picture of how our brains work in relationships.

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  1. Our dreams and stories may contain implicit aspects of our lives even without our awareness. In fact, storytelling may be a primary way in which we can linguistically communicate to others—as well as to ourselves—the sometimes hidden contents of our implicitly remembering minds. Stories make available perspectives on the emotional themes of our implicit memory that may otherwise be consciously unavailable to us. This may be one reason why journal writing and intimate communication with others, which are so often narrative processes, have such powerful organizing effects on the mind: They allow us to modulate our emotions and make sense of the world.
  2. Too often we forget that discipline really means to teach, not to punish. A disciple is a student, not a recipient of behavioural consequences.
  3. Each of us needs periods in which our minds can focus inwardly. Solitude is an essential experience for the mind to organise its own processes and create an internal state of resonance. In such a state, the self is able to alter its constraints by directly reducing the input from interactions with others.
  4. Mindfulness has never met a cognition it didn't like
  5. We are always in a perpetual state of being created and creating ourselves.
  6. At the most basic level, therefore, secure attachments in both childhood and adulthood are established by two individual's sharing a nonverbal focus on the energy flow (emotional states) and a verbal focus on the information-processing aspects (representational processes of memory and narrative) of mental life. The matter of the mind matters for secure attachments.
  7. For "full" emotional communication, one person needs to allow his state of mind to be influenced by that of the other.
  8. Internal mental experience is not the product of a photographic process. Internal reality is in fact constructed by the brain as it interacts with the environment in the present, in the context of its past experiences and expectancies of the future. At the level of perceptual categorizations, we have reached a land of mental representations quite distant from the layers of the world just inches away from their place inside the skull. This is the reason why each of us experiences a unique way of minding the world.
  9. As children develop, their brains "mirror" their parent's brain. In other words, the parent's own growth and development, or lack of those, impact the child's brain. As parents become more aware and emotionally healthy, their children reap the rewards and move toward health as well.
  10. Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of being.
  11. We must keep in mind that only a part of memory can be translated into the language-based packets of information people use to tell their life stories to others. Learning to be open to many layers of communication is a fundamental part of getting to know another person's life.
  12. ..not all encounters with the world affect the mind equally. Studies have demonstrated that if the brain appraises an event as "meaningful," it will be more likely to be recalled in the future.
  13. Early experience shapes the structure and function of the brain. This reveals the fundamental way in which gene expression is determined by experience.
  14. if we use how we were taught yesterday to teach our children today, we are not preparing them well for tomorrow.
  15. Integration is not the same as blending. Integration requires that we maintain elements of our differentiated selves while also promoting our linkage. Becoming a part of a "we: does not mean losing a "me." Integration as a focus of intervention among a range of domains of integration becomes the fundamental basis for how we apply interpersonal neurobiology principles to the nurturing of healthy relationships.
  16. Emotion is not just some "primitive" remnant of an earlier reptilian evolutionary past. Emotion directs the flow of activation (energy) and establishes the meaning of representations (information processing) for the individual. It is not a single, isolated group of processes; it has a direct impact on th entire mind.
  17. Mindfulness is a form of mental activity that trains the mind to become aware of awareness itself and to pay attention to one’s own intention.
  18. Loss of someone we love cannot be adequately expressed with words. Grappling with loss, struggling with disconnection and despair, fills us with a sense of anguish and actual pain. Indeed, the parts of our brain that process physical pain overlap with the neural centres that record social ruptures and rejection. Loss rips us apart.
  19. Reduce words Embrace emotions Describe, don’t preach Involve your child in the discipline Reframe a no into a conditional yes Emphasize the positive Creatively approach the situation Teach mindsight tools
  20. We now know that the way to help a child develop optimally is to help create connections in her brain—her whole brain—that develop skills that lead to better relationships, better mental health, and more meaningful lives. You could call it brain sculpting, or brain-nourishing, or brain building. Whatever phrase you prefer, the point is crucial, and thrilling: as a result of the words we use and the actions we take, children’s brains will actually change, and be built, as they undergo new experiences.
  21. One of the key practical lessons of modern neuroscience is that the power to direct our attention has within it the power to shape our brain’s firing patterns, as well as the power to shape the architecture of the brain itself.
  22. mental activity such as directing attention, actually shape the structure of the brain?” As we’ve seen, experience means neural firing. When neurons fire together, the genes in their nuclei—their master control centers—become activated and “express” themselves. Gene expression means that certain proteins are produced. These proteins then enable the synaptic linkages to be constructed anew or to be strengthened. Experience also stimulates the production of myelin, the fatty sheath around axons, resulting in as much as a hundredfold increase in the speed of conduction down the neuron’s length. And as we now know, experience can also stimulate neural stem cells to differentiate into wholly new neurons in the brain. This neurogenesis, along with synapse formation and myelin growth, can take place in response to experience throughout our lives. As discussed before, the capacity of the brain to change is called neuroplasticity We are now discovering how the careful focus of attention amplifies neuroplasticity by stimulating the release of neurochemicals that enhance the structural growth of synaptic linkages among the activated neurons.
  23. Writing in a journal activates the narrator function of our minds. Studies have suggested that simply writing down our account of a challenging experience can lower physiological reactivity and increase our sense of well-being, even if we never show what we’ve written to anyone else
  24. As scientists put it, the brain is plastic, or moldable. Yes, the actual physical architecture of the brain changes based on what happens to us.
  25. Having neurons wire together can be a good thing. A positive experience with a math teacher can lead to neural connections that link math with pleasure, accomplishment, and feeling good about yourself as a student. But the opposite is equally true. Negative experiences with a harsh instructor or a timed test and the anxiety that accompanies it can form connections in the brain that create a serious obstacle to the enjoyment not only of math and numbers, but exams and even school in general.
  26. When parents don’t take responsibility for their own unfinished business, they miss an opportunity not only to become better parents but also to continue their own development. People who remain in the dark about the origins of their behaviours and intense emotional responses are unaware of their unresolved issues and the parental ambivalence they create.
  27. Physically and genetically, our brains may not have evolved much in the last forty thousand years—but our minds have. A baby born today would be much the same as a baby born tens of thousands of years ago. But if we were able to compare the intricate neural structure of an adult brain in today’s modern society with that of an adult brain from forty thousand years ago, we’d find huge differences.
  28. ...the changes during adolescence are not something to just get through; they are qualities we actually need to hold on to in order to live a full and meaningful life in adulthood.
  29. There’s a lot of scientific evidence demonstrating that focused attention leads to the reshaping of the brain. In animals rewarded for noticing sound (to hunt or to avoid being hunted, for example), we find much larger auditory centers in the brain. In animals rewarded for sharp eyesight, the visual areas are larger. Brain scans of violinists provide more evidence, showing dramatic growth and expansion in regions of the cortex that represent the left hand, which has to finger the strings precisely, often at very high speed. Other studies have shown that the hippocampus, which is vital for spatial memory, is enlarged in taxi drivers. The point is that the physical architecture of the brain changes according to where we direct our attention and what we practice doing.
  30. Our state of mind can turn even neutral comments into fighting words, distorting what we hear to fit what we fear.


Some of this is a bit wordy, but you should be as a professor to be precise about what you are saying. You can sense the academic streak and from my experience, there are certain points I absolutely agree on.

Writing a diary or journal always helped me to decompress. Whenever I felt most rejected, lonely or helpless I would write down my feelings on a piece of paper. Even now, when I am happy and most constructive, the thoughts which get the most attention and are most likely to be turned into action are on a to-do list on a piece of paper. As a teenager, I used to write poems about how I saw myself in relation to other and especially about the fact that I was not able to get a girlfriend back then. As an adult, when I moved to Ireland, I restarted my diary when I was very lonely. I did not realise at the time, but I was. So, whenever you write something down to get your head around it, it is something good. In addition, at best, discuss what you wrote with those you love and care the most about.

When it comes to growth and the connection between a child and a parent and how this has impact on brain development I would agree that our brains are hugely influenced by how we are being brought up. I am personally driven to be a good dad and to fill a void which has been left in my life by my father dying when I was 7. My mother left the impact on me to be reliable and self-sacrificing for my family. She worked hard at nights as a single mother in a casino and whenever she promised something it would be done. From a negative point, I inherited my father’s short fuse and anger. He would sometimes go off with no apparent reason. I have some of that and meditating helped to conquer it. My mother passed on her loneliness to me. In the ned she became very bitter as she felt let down by the people who loved her and her friends at work. I am still my own person and I broke some of the bad patterns of my parents and managed to fulfil my mother’s dream of living abroad for which she was not brave enough to take the step. I hope you will find information on my blog which will help you to identify these connections to understand better where your own personal behaviour comes from and how to influence it in a way which makes you happier and more productive. For me it was always easiest to start on working on the body to develop more discipline and from there to focus on the mind as external changes are easier to recognise and acknowledge than psychological.

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