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In the pursuit of balance and wellness for children, youth, schools, families, and communities, understanding the principles of Shanker Self-Reg® is an invaluable asset. However, the vast array of terms and concepts associated with Self-Reg can sometimes feel overwhelming. Fear not! We’ll demystify the terminology and shed light on the essential aspects of Shanker Self-Reg.

We’ve put together a glossary of Self-Reg terms to guide you through the key concepts and principles. Whether you’re an educator, caregiver, parent or any individual on a journey of well-being for yourself or those you care for, this glossary is your gateway to understanding the terminology associated with Shanker Self-Reg®.

Glossary of Self-Reg Terms

Acquired Governor: An acquired governor is the result of an association (stored in the amygdala and hippocampus) that triggers limbic braking

Adrenaline: Also known as epinephrine, adrenaline is a hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla as part of the fight or flight response to stress

Adaptive coping strategies: Strategies that can be used to effectively deal with stress and help people return to a state of calm and balance

Affect diathesis theory: Dr. Stanley Greenspan’s theory that one of the core deficits in autism is the inability to connect affect (emotion) to the motor planning and symbol formation needed for engaging in the reciprocal emotional interactions that are so important for learning, including the development of social skills

Allostatic overload: A state that occurs when a person is stressed to the point where demands on the homeostatic system are so great that recovery mechanisms are overstretched and become compromised

Amygdala: A part of the limbic system which makes very fast (but not always accurate) evaluations of whether a stimulus, situation or person is a threat, and initiates a stress response if it detects a threat

Appraisal: The cognitive process of evaluating a situation and its meaning (see also reappraisal)

Arousal regulation: When a caregiver helps a child up- or down-regulate as necessary by modulating stress. This is a key function of the Interbrain, given that heightened stress can lead to physiological, neural, psychological, and emotional hyper- or hypo-arousal.

Attentional capture: The involuntary or unconscious capture of a child’s attention by stimuli, such as the fast moving images and sounds of video games, which activate areas of the brain associated with reward structures of the brain

Attentional control: The ability to voluntarily shift attention as needed

Attractor: A highly stable pattern that develops in complex systems in which the parts of the system are bound together in a web of mutually reinforcing co-actions. Attractors often constrain future possibilities for change or growth.

Authoritarian parenting: A parenting style characterized by high demands, high levels of punitive responses and low levels of nurturing responses

Authoritative parenting: A parenting style that balances parental demands with warm, nurturing responses. In Self-Reg, it refers to parenting characterized by calm, mindful and empathic responses to children’s behaviour.

Balance: In Self-Reg, the state of blue brain red brain balance: a state where the blue brain and red brain are working smoothly together and acting as a check and balance for each other so that energy expenditure and recovery are finely counter balanced. Blue brain red brain balance promotes optimal self-regulation in each of the five domains (biological, emotion, cognitive, social, prosocial), social co-regulation and also biological functions such as digestion, cellular repair and the immune system.

Bliss point: The maximum release of opioids; euphoric satisfaction. In food science, the combination of fat, sugar, and salt that maximizes opioid release and contributes to cravings.

Blue brain (a.k.a. learning brain or social brain) (see Triune Brain/neocortex): A Self-Reg term for the neocortex, the brain system that supports higher-order thinking and functions like language, self-control, thinking, mindreading, social engagement and communicating emotional cues. The blue brain is highly plastic at birth.

  • Blue brain state: A brain state that occurs when sufficient physiological resources are available to support blue brain function because the red brain is not monopolizing these resources

Bodyreading: The skill of reading another person’s level of arousal by observing their posture, quality of body movements, speed of interaction with others, voice quality, attention, facial and eye expression, and use of eye contact

Calm: In Self-Reg, a physiological and emotional state of low tension which, combined with alertness, is the ideal state for learning, social engagement and thinking

See the Full Glossary of Self-Reg Terms here.

Additional Learning

Self-Reg Foundations Certificate Program

Self-Reg 101 For All

The Self-Reg Show Podcast