Some emotions can feel so scary that all we want to do is run from them. However, pushing our negative feelings down can make them grow. It’s kind of like pushing a beach ball under the water – eventually it will pop up – causing a mini-Tsunami! While it can be unpleasant to feel these tough emotions, it’s important to acknowledge and process them. The feeling is telling us, ‘Pay attention! There’s something important you need to learn about yourself right now!’ The truth is that life cannot be predicted and finding a way to feel comfortable with this uncertainty is your superpower.
Remember - You are NOT the emotion itself; you are merely FEELING it. So, make sure to frame self-talk in this way, ‘I’m feeling sad’ or ‘I’m feeling angry’ instead of saying, “I’m sad!’ or ‘I’m angry!’
Emotions are impermanent
They come and go. No storm lasts forever. So, take a deep breath (or 10!) and understand that the emotion will not defeat you. It will pass once you learn from it.
How to brave the storm with self-compassion
If you, a student, or your child is facing emotional challenges – you may wish to try an incredibly comforting, yet powerful, mindfulness practice with psychologist and meditation expert Tara Brach – RAIN - a meditation practice to help process emotions. RAIN stands for Recognize, Accept, Investigate, and Nurture.
Learn from an expert
Psychologist Susan David speaks about the concept that emotions are like lighthouses directing us, and sometimes saving us from future challenges - in this Podcast. It’s a valuable listen for parents, teachers, and young people alike.
Quick Tip on how to respond to someone’s emotional stress
If a student or child comes to you with a problem, challenge, or a hard emotion - ask them to zero in on what they’re feeling by describing it. Encourage them to sit with the emotion – to simply breathe and observe. They can ask themselves:
- Why am I feeling this way?
- What brought this on?
- Is there anything important that this emotion is trying to tell me about myself or my life?
Simply sitting with the emotion, accepting it in our life, rather than pushing it away can make a world of difference to our emotional intelligence and our ability to self-regulate.
Here’s a video for young kids about their brain and how to manage emotions.
If you and your family would like support (or would like assistance finding external mental health support) please reach out to your principal and Ms. Derkson.
About the Author
Ms. Jodi Derkson
Social Emotional Learning Coordinator/Counselor
As Meadowridge School’s Social Emotional Counselor, Ms. Derkson brings her years of education, experience, and training to support our community. “My job is to assist teachers and create a schoolwide program,” she shares, “and educate.” Ms. Derkson works with teachers and students and even parents to build understanding, share resources and learn techniques.