Introduction to Implicit Memory

Most people will tell you that the earliest memory is something that happened around the time they were 3 or 4 years old.  And that’s true when we are talking about narrative memory.  Narrative memory, or explicit memory, is what we typically think of when we talk about memory. It’s the ability to consciously recall something that happened in the past and tell a story about it. Explicit memory is governed by the hippocampus, which matures around the age of 3 and coincides with increased language mastery.

However, there’s another kind of memory that most people aren’t aware of.  It’s called implicit memory and I happen to find it incredibly fascinating.  Implicit memory is governed by the amygdala, which is a part of the limbic system that is mature at birth (and probably even earlier, but no one is quite sure about that yet.)  The amygdala encodes and stores highly emotionally charged memories as implicit memories beginning at birth.  Throughout our lives, we remember these implicit memories but because they were encoded without language, the recall is sensory and visceral and not conscious.  Implicit memories directly affect our mood and actions throughout our lives even though we can’t consciously tell a story about those memories.  Oh, and because recalling implicit memories isn’t conscious, forgetting does not apply.  How crazy is that? Those earliest emotional experiences live in our brain throughout the rest of our lives, directly impacting our beliefs and actions.  Let me say it again, EARLY EXPERIENCES MATTER.

Let me know what you think! Had you heard of implicit memory before?  Have you noticed patterns of behavior in your own life that may be linked to implicit memory?

Compassion Fatigue and Putting Yourself First

Today we are talking about the importance of high quality self-care.  I know, I know. You are so busy. You barely have time to take a shower, let alone consistently practice quality self-care. Every time I bring this up, I get the look. You know, that look that says, “Yeah, ok, lady. Sure, that would be nice, but it’s not gonna happen.” I can relate because I have been there and I still am there sometimes, if I’m being totally honest.  When I started grad school, I was 8 months pregnant with my first baby and I have been basically running myself ragged ever since.  3 years of grad school, 2 years of graduate certificate training, full-time employment, 2 babies, 5 pets, 10 half-marathons, starting and building my own business… I am crazy busy, all the time.

However, while I have been on this crazy journey, I have learned that when I stretch myself too thin, I don’t have anything leftover for my children, my clients, my friends, and my family.  And I know deep down, that this is absolute truth for all of us.  When you are constantly go-go-going, taking care of children, the pets, the business, the clients and not yourself, you become depleted.  You give and give and give until there is nothing left which means that the quality of what you are able to give to others – practically, mentally, and emotionally – diminishes.  You show up in your relationships as distracted, scattered, and exhausted.  Let me ask you a question, if you aren’t able to pause and enjoy the blessings in your life right now, what makes you think you will be able to do so in the future? Give the video a watch and then download your own copy of the self-care self-assessment right here.  I’d love to hear what insights you have!

Early Experiences Matter: Introduction to the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) study has been called one of the largest public health crises of our time.  The ACES study has demonstrated, without question, how adversity in childhood can continue to have a negative affect on an individual’s life, throughout the lifespan.  The evidence is compelling and in my humble opinion, the ACES study should be required reading for every single human. Check out today’s video to learn more about how the ACES study began and what it means for you.

Fascinating stuff, right?  To learn more about the ACES study, including the study design and outcomes, please consider checking out my Introduction to ACES and Resilience course over at Reflecting Relationships Academy.  I’d be honored to share what I know with you!

Learn why the ACES study has been called one of the most important public health crises of our time and how it applies to your life


HALT to Increase Emotional Regulation, Cooperation, and Communication – FREE PDF!

Today I’m sharing a super simple, easy to remember trick to help you respond to challenging behaviors.  When your child is having a hard time, it is likely that he or she is feeling internally dysregulated.  That’s a fancy way of saying that something just doesn’t feel right for your child.  When this happens, children typically are not able to identify and communicate that experience in words so it is communicated in the form of challenging behaviors like whining, tantrums, aggression, or defiance.  As a parent or early learning professional, it can be really difficult to respond to these behaviors when we aren’t able to easily identify the root cause of the behavior.  However, using this simple trick will give you a great place to start.

Sad, thinking. Closeup portrait headshot depressed, alone, tired child resting head on fist isolated grey wall background. Negative human emotion face expression feeling life perception body language

When you are starting to feel overwhelmed by challenging behavior, remember to HALT.  HALT stands for:





When your child is experiencing any of these four things, they are likely to become dysregulated, resulting in challenging behavior.  By HALTing and reflecting on whether any of these issues need to be addressed, you can help your child re-regulate their internal experience, allowing them to access their rational brain more effectively.  This will lead to decreased negative behavior and increased cooperation, communication, and ability to regulate emotions.

Want to have a reminder to HALT on your refrigerator?  Click here to download your free HALT reminder!


My 3 Favorite Mindfulness Games for Little Ones

little girl meditating in parkMindfulness practice has the power to be such an incredibly beneficial tool.  Mindfulness practice strengthens the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that is responsible for executive functioning, planning, and emotional regulation.  Regular mindfulness practice in children has been shown to increase attention and focus, increase kindness and empathy, and to increase emotional regulation capacity.  Powerful! It only works if you practice, though, and it can be hard to figure out how to teach little kids how to slow down and just be in the moment.  It doesn’t have to be, though! In this week’s video, I’m sharing my top three favorite ways to introduce mindfulness to even very young children.  All three are super fun, super quick mindful games that can evolve into a stronger, longer mindfulness practice over time.

What do you think?  Have you tried mindfulness games with your children?  Leave me a comment below!