What Two Things Most Shape our Lives? Love and Attention

Who, being loved, is poor? Oscar WildeOur emotional well being depends hugely on how well we can control our attention

Two fundamental things –  love and attention – shape our lives more than anything else. Without the consistent love of at least one person, children’s brains do not develop properly and their lives are often blighted. Being attended to  – that is, feeling held in another’s mind – is part of being loved and is also crucial for the brain’s development.

Attention is the gatekeeper for how experiences sculpts the child’s brain. Without attention, experiences don’t trigger physical changes in the brain tissue of the sort that attended-to input does. [i]   This means that potentially rich stimulation drains away like water into sand because it is not ‘activated’ by attention.

Our brains have a number of specific general purpose attention networks which help us to select what to attend to (one voice rather than the background conversation), allow us to switch from one thing to another (from the song on the radio to the red traffic light ahead) and to sustain it over time (read this blog to the end without mind wandering).

Loving adults sculpt these attention networks in their young children through joint attention; babies learn to attend a little like they learn to walk, by being held for the first few steps before gradually venturing on their own with just a hand, and finally staggering off with anxious hands braced to catch. Attention is a bit like that – the attentional circuits are like muscles which need to be developed.

Children learn to sustain their attention in this sort of faltering, supported way: the brain finds it hard to keep attention on an unchanging stimulus for more than a few seconds at a time, but that’s exactly what the children have to learn to do they are going to learn to read, think and regulate their emotions.

Love is a specific kind of attention imbued with feeling, and the same is true for hate. When a child struggles through a difficult reading passage in school, it’s not just her brain’s attention network which is keeping her focused – it is also the fact of feeling held in her parent’s attention which helps keeps her on task.

This is why children who are having emotional problems, say during family breakup, can really start to perform badly in school, but this is not just true for young children.

Attention depends a lot on the brain’s prefrontal cortex and this region is not fully ‘wired-up’ to the rest of the brain until the early to mid twenties, particularly in men [ii]. This is why car insurance premiums are so high for people in this age group – even young adults’ ability to focus their attention, consider future risk and inhibit their emotions are underdeveloped.

Attention is not just about thinking and focus – it is hugely important in our emotional life as well. When someone snaps at us, it is our ability to refocus our attention which allows us to remember that he is very stressed, and so with luck we inhibit our natural response to retaliate and provoke more trouble.

Our ability to control our attention seems to be very important for our own emotional balance as well. Left to wander on its own, the mind will quickly revert to unhappy memories or anxious thoughts if these exist –  as they do for many people.  This is why, in the words of one pair of researchers –  ‘a wandering mind is an unhappy mind’: this study showed that people are unhappier when their minds are wandering, even when compared how they feel when focused on routine or tiresome chores.[iii]

The centrality of love and attention to our health mental functioning is becoming starting to become clearer in recent research on the biological and psychological effects of two different types of meditation, each emphasizing one element of the love-attention partnership.

Today’s article was written by Ian H. Robertson, Ph.D. and is shared from the following website: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-winner-effect/201306/what-two-things-most-shape-our-lives-love-and-attention

 

 

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Family….The Relationships and Love that Bind Us

She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her Proverbs 3:15I am biased – I admit it. I believe that I am blessed with the most amazing and wonderful family in the world!

I hope you feel that way about your family too!

I believe that our marital relationships and the relationships we have with our family are the most important mortal endeavors we can participate in. I also believe that families are for eternity. I don’t know, for sure, that our families existed prior to our birth but I do know for sure that our families were planned well before any of us were born.

Additionally, I know that our deceased family members are not far away and I know that they often help and mentor us. I believe that they are often our guardian angels.

I know that my grandparents have been with me and I know that my father was a part of the circle of angels who protected and gave strength to my granddaughter at the time of her accident and while she gingerly clung to life in the NICU at Primary Children’s Hospital.

I now have 18 grandchildren with the 19th on her way. When the newest member of our family makes her mortal entrance, she will be my 13th granddaughter and she join what I consider an elite team of incredible individuals. It is my hope and my duty as her grandmother to help her know just how amazing and wonderful she is. You see, once she takes her first breath, she will lose much of her pre-mortal memory. I will need to remind her of what I know of her – what I know of each of us: We are all precious children – all worth incredible sacrifice and effort as far as the Lord is concerned.

And I will pray for her and for the world as I always do – I will pray that she will know God’s love for her. I will pray that she comes to know Him well throughout her life. And…I will pray that each individual who is a part of this world will have the same blessing and knowledge of God that I want for my granddaughter and every member of my family.

I hope you enjoy today’s story!

The Lost Ruby

I’ve had only one experience in my life and this one changed my life and way of thinking.  When I was a teen my grandmother moved in with us.  I loved my grandmother, we were very close. My mother called me her ‘junior’.

When I was seventeen I went to the prom and my grandmother let me borrow her beautiful ruby necklace. At that age, being somewhat reckless, I lost it somewhere. To this day I still don’t know where, I just remember at the end of the night my mother was extremely upset with me. My grandmother being very understanding and forgiving was not upset at all.

A year later my grandmother passed away and not long afterwards I joined the military and was stationed in Germany. For years I had not talked to my family. My husband left me and at this point I‘d been in Europe four years with still another year to go.

One night I became an hysterical drunken mess, cried for hours and I passed out. The next morning I found clutched in my hand my grandmother’s beautiful ruby necklace. I don’t know how to explain this! I shared this with my mother and we both cried. Together with the help of my family and this miraculous event, I’m putting my life back together,

Contributed by Cindy Rowe

Story shared from the following website: https://www.keen.com/CommunityServer/UserBlogPosts/Ms_Claritynow/TEN-ORIGINAL–TRUE–DIVINE-INTERVENTION–ANGEL—-MIRACLE–INSPIRATIONAL–STORIES—collected-by-me–amp–till-now-unseen/141689.aspx

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