September 28, 2020
Photo of the Week
Where in the World is Mrs. Carrera?
Just last week, Dr. Crenshaw (Social Studies) asked for help with his Psychology class. The lesson involved understanding a “hijacked” amygdala and what we can do to regain control of our responses to a perceived threat. For those of us not in Psychology class with Dr. Crenshaw, the amygdala is an area of our brains that contributes to emotional processing. The example Mrs. Carrera, Wellness Center Director, gives is that of fight or flight: when a car is coming at you, or a stressful situation arises, what do you do?
In the case of the car, we move. We jump out of the way. We don’t have time to think, only to react. In the case of a more generalized stressful situation, like a forgotten homework assignment or an unexpected test result, how do our brains process stress and what can we do to help our brains process these situations better?
We start by understanding the health impacts of the attention-grabbing world we live in. In addition to weight gain and impacts on growth, stressful situations like a test we didn’t prepare for or a news article we weren’t expecting when we check our phones in the middle of the night also cause our amygdalas to work overtime. Our hearts beat faster, our pulse rates quicken, and cortisol and adrenaline are released, increasing alertness.
“I want my class to look like a lab each day,” says Dr. Crenshaw, “so when we started studying anger and fear, I asked Mrs. Carrera for help.” Dr. Crenshaw’s lab component involved measuring students’ heart rate. Mrs. Carerra led students through checking their base rate and checking again after a stressor was introduced. Once the students saw how quickly their bodies react to stress, Mrs. Carerra and Dr. Crenshaw presented techniques on how to take back control. “There are bodily consequences when we can’t get our anger and fear under control,” remarks Dr. Crenshaw. “In addition to sleep deprivation and a compromised immune system, we experience no logical reasoning.”
We gain back control by interrupting these thoughts and taking six seconds to identify the cause of our stress and reflect. “These six seconds are when we usually say something we don’t mean or do something we typically wouldn’t have,” says Mrs. Carrera. In these moments, take a breath, observe your thoughts and actions, and mindfully consider a response. “Empower yourself in these six seconds,” reminds Mrs. Carrera. “There is a mind over matter decision to make. Your heart rate will slow, and your breathing will regulate. You will make it through.”
Dr. Crenshaw has more collaborations with Mrs. Carrera in mind. Stay tuned to see where Mrs. Carrera will go next!
Saturday, 9/26 | 8:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M. | CMCP
Marianist L.I.F.E. Meeting
Tuesday, 9/29 | 7:00 P.M. - 8:30 P.M. | Belanger Hall
Parent/Teacher Conferences for Grades 11 & 12
Wednesday, 9/30 | 1:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M. | CMCP
College Application Workshop
Wednesday, 9/30 | 1:30 P.M. - 3:39 P.M. | Belanger Hall
Saturday, 10/3 | 8:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M. | CMCP
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