"Listening is the connective tissue in relationships, and as member of a profession that demands listening with a maximum of attention, it was with great interest that I read a research study showing that an engaged listener?s brain activity synchs up with the brain of the storyteller, producing a shared emotional and cognitive experience in real time. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Psychological Sciences published a study that showed "coupling" in the brain waves of tellers and listeners, showing visible evidence of the way our consciousness connects. And here?s the kicker. This is an effect "that vanishes when participants fail to communicate." This might mean that making an effort to develop our storytelling skills can pay off in stronger social bonds and an uptick in that intangible but psychologically powerful sense of being heard and understood by others. from "The Therapeutic Benefits Of Telling Your Stories" on medium.com READ MORE
"The way stories work is intuitive - human beings have used them to inspire and connect since the Odyssey and the Old Testament _ but science explains how it works. One would think that because stories are expressed through language that they engage the parts of the brain that process it, but neuroscience shows us something more. Research published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience showed that when the brain hears an action word, it responds as if the listener is engaged in that action. So when a storyteller says "I waltz to the door," the motor cortex lights up. "I straighten the collar of my velvety silk blouse" ignites the sensory cortex. "My heart races with a mix of wild excitement and anxiety as I open the door" triggers these emotions in the listener. When Bob Brader steps into the character of raging father, reassuring mother, high school crush, or any of the other characters that populate his story, the listener can experience the rush of fear an abused child endures, but from the safety of an observer's role. When the brain experiences rich imagery and emotionally compelling moments the story has the greatest impact and is more likely to be remembered.
It is this immediacy of experience combined with the emotional distance provided by being an audience member that gifts the listener with new perspective and meaning. First, we feel, then we understand. The story does the work. from "When Stories Kill: Its The Brain Science That Did It" on medium.com
"There is no better preparation for both empathizing with and navigating the twists and turns of another person's most private, protected self than improvisation, which can only occur through that a distinctive combination of emotional connection and creative risk.
Improv is the fast-track to understanding and tapping into creative energy in ways that are immediately transferable to real-life stresses and situations. The capacity to improvise is linked to essential cognitive-emotional tools in our psychological toolbox. To make something useful out of an existing thing or circumstance is creative in exactly the same way that an artist has the ability to mold clay into a sculpture or a musician makes music by rearranging sounds and rhythm. It is the fuel for our capacity to learn but maybe even more importantly to relearn, to form new habits of mind in response to change. The psychological "muscles" we need to improvise - heightened attention to what partners say and do, close listening, willingness to explore ideas, and emotional agility - are powerfully strengthened through improv games and exercises. Psychotherapy turns on this same element of heightened awareness of and response to what others say or do." From "Cognitive Shifts, Creativity and Connection: 10 Benefits Of Improv" on medium.com READ MORE
"The "yes..and" mindset. Improvisation is an unscripted, unrehearsed and unedited interaction and it only really works when the players let go of their agendas. Because of past experiences in groups or classes, many of us have developed habits of mind that tell us to shut down when something unexpected throws a curve to what we planned or predicted. Learning to say "yes" to what happens makes much better use of the energy we might otherwise use to judge, resist or deny it. This is not to say we approve of, agree with or even like what others say and do. We can radically disagree with other peoples' behavior or policies imposed by an employer or a family member's irresponsible choices. We might be rightly offended by bigotry, or angry about injustice. The "yes" is an open attitude to the truth of it, an acceptance that this is the reality with which we must deal. The "and" is what we do about it, the power to shift the direction of what is happening, to respond rather than react. The "and" is how we make things happen. The "and" is our creative freedom in action. Practicing this mindset results in greater psychological agility and creative responsiveness.
Through improvisation games and exercises we knowingly and consciously engage with the unknown and unpredictable, because what makes a game fun and exciting is the fact that no one knows how it will turn out. The uncertainty is uncomfortable, but the fact that we enter into this uncertainty together helps with the discomfort, and provides the space to figure out how we handle the same anxieties on the stage of life. This uncertainty is a natural part of the creative process, and of solving big, important problems. The question is what we will choose when we are thrown into it. Will we choose the comfortable and familiar patterns already formed or that have been chosen for us, or will we take a step toward shaping our reality in a new and creative direction?" from "Anything Can Happen: The Improviser's Mind Set At Work" on medium.com READ MORE
"Top-tier business schools teaching improv classes include Duke, MIT, UCLA, and Stanford. Notre Dame's Executive MBA program offered improv classes as recent as this past July. The underlying axiom is that curveballs don't just happen on stage at improv classes; they also happen in the ever-changing business world. When you're on stage, unsure of what will happen, and are forced to go along with whatever suggestion your fellow actors offer with a "yes, and" response, that means you're always accepting"and building upon"whatever others are doing or saying as part of your own storyline. This kind of cooperation is said to inspire adaptability, which becomes a particularly useful skill to have in the current global business landscape." "Why Top Companies And MBA Programs Are Teaching Improv" Fast Company
"Emotions are important in the classroom in two major ways. First, emotions have an impact on learning. They influence our ability to process information and to accurately understand what we encounter. For these reasons, it is important for teachers to create a positive, emotionally safe classroom environment to provide for the optimal learning of students. Second, learning how to manage feelings and relationships constitutes a kind of ?emotional intelligence? that enables people to be successful." "Feelings Count: Emotions and Learning" www.learner.org, Stanford University
"'The neural pathways in the brain that deal with stress are the same ones that are used for learning,' said Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center For Emotional Intelligence, a research and teaching center. 'Schools are realizing that they have to help kids understand their feelings and manage them effectively.' He added, 'We, as a country, want our kids to achieve more academically, but we can't do this if our kids aren't emotionally healthy.'
SEL, sometimes called character education, embraces not just the golden rule but the idea that everyone experiences a range of positive and negative feelings. It also gives children tools to slow down and think when facing conflicts, and teaches them to foster empathy and show kindness, introducing the concept of shared responsibility for a group's well-being.'" "Teaching Peace In Elementary School" by Julie Scelfo, New York Times Nov. 15, 2015