The Hand Model is a metaphor for emotion intelligence created by Professor Daniel J Siegel and described by him in The Whole Brain Child, pages 62-63 © Mind Your Brain Inc 2015.
In this metaphor, the part of the brain that governs emotion is represented by the thumb and acts like an accelerator on areas that govern body function. The thinking part of the brain acts as a brake on emotions and is represented by the finger tips. When the thumb is 'reactive' and the fingers pushed up we have ‘Flipped our Lid’. When the thumb is calm and the fist is closed (representing motorways of connections between different areas of the brain) we are responsive and making the best use of our brain as both embodied and relational. This is when we make our best decisions. When our lid is down and we are interacting with others who also have their lid down we make our best collective decisions and choices. We can learn to calm the reactivity of our brain through emotion coaching techniques and mindful exercises. One of the ways the thinking part of our brain works to calm our bodily responses is through stimulation of the vagus nerve (this is known as Vagal Tone). The vagus nerve travels from the brain stem to key organs in the body, doing things like lowering heart rate and breathing rate.