We all have two main sensors to help us understand the world. Firstly, our senses (sight, hearing, etc.) These sensors help us access the external world. Secondly we have our emotions. These are our internal sensors. The key to using these sensors effectively is in the name e-MOTIONS. They move and change constantly to help us understand our world and how to manage it. When we get stuck on an emotion, we run into trouble. We need to learn how to get it to shift.
One of the most simple changes we can make when teaching our children emotional regulation, and empowering them to change how they feel, is in our language. Stop saying “I am…” and start saying “I feel…”. You are not anxious. You are not depressed. Perhaps right at this moment, you feel one of these things. Emotions are transitory. You cannot be an emotion. An emotion cannot form a part of your identity. This suggests that we are stuck with a feeling and have no power to change it. Instead, we need to view our emotions as constantly changing, and learn to what you need to do to make it shift.
Dr Katherine Russell-Smith
Coordinator of Wellbeing