Everyday Happiness - Finding Harmony and Bliss

482-The Brain as a Glitter Jar

September 26, 2022

Our brains are like a jar of swirling glitter, especially when we are young. I encourage you to tune in today to get the full scope of this analogy and how to use it with your kids. 




Welcome to Everyday Happiness where we create lasting happiness, in about 2 minutes a day,  through my signature method of Intentional Margins® (creating harmony between your to-dos and your priorities), happiness science, and musings about life. 


I'm your host Katie Jefcoat and years ago I was listening to a talk by child psychologist and author Lisa Damour about raising kids, especially girls and she talked about an analogy she had heard of that seems so practical and effective for kids and adults that I wanted you to have this analogy too. 


But before I get into that, please consider subscribing and writing a review for Everyday Happiness on Apple Podcasts or Amazon Flash Briefings so we can spread happiness to others.  Apparently, until you have 50 reviews, it’s really hard to get noticed in this busy world, so we’d be so grateful for you to be one of the first 50.  You’d really be helping us out.  There is a link in the show notes


Back to the glitter jar.  Imagine you fill a jar with water and glitter.  Three colors of glitter: one to represent thoughts, one to represent feelings, and one to represent behaviors.


This jar represents your brain.  The jar is like our mind, and each color of glitter represents something different in our mind.


When the jar sits on the table, all the glitter falls to the bottom, the mind is calm. 


We wake up, we go to work, we do all the things and the mind starts to swirl.  The glitter starts to wake up too.  


We don’t want the thoughts and feeling to go away or push them down in our body.  We just want to be able to see clearly.  When the jar is all shook up, emotions are high, we can’t see clearly.  We can’t think. 


For adults, we also need time to calm down, to gather our thoughts, to have a moment and let the glitter settle so we can see and think clearly.  


In kids, because their prefrontal cortex is not fully developed, they literally don’t think like we do, and really need time to think and calm themselves down because the neurons in their under-developed brain are like the glitter and firing on all cylinders and not in the way grown-ups process, they are just not developmentally ready.  


So the next time you feel out of sorts, take a moment, and think of the glitter jar and let those emotions and thoughts settle a bit. 


You can Google “mind in a jar, glitter” and get tons of how-tos to make your own jar and scripts to explain this to your child.   


I hope this tip was helpful.  Until next time. Remember, kindness is contagious. 


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