By Nadine Levitt, CEO and Founder of WURRLYedu, and author of My Mama Says Inside Me Lives A Village
I had the pleasure of participating in the FlipGrid Community Conversation on Mental Health Awareness, where we explored feelings and tools for building healthy relationships with emotions.
For those who missed it, here are the highlights!
- Emotions live inside us all the time:
No big surprise, but our emotions live inside us all the time, even though we are not always conscious of them! Honor them with daily rituals like journaling or committing to a mindful minute (just take a deep breath and reflect on all the emotions you are feeling right now!)
- Emotions don’t control us and we don’t control them:
This may contradict what has often been presented to us in the past, with the rise of toxic positivity and countless movies and tv series that showcase and model disempowering behaviors (like emotions controlling our every move, for example). But emotions will come and go and you cannot just turn them on or off! But, you can control how you choose to act (which is why we need to direct our emotions – more on this later!)
- Emotions are messengers:
Our emotions have one purpose, and that is to deliver a message! There is no such thing as a “bad” or “good” emotion – they are all trying to help us! Some emotions, like anger or frustration, use alarms by releasing stress hormones that can initiate fight or flight. Other emotions, like joy and excitement, use rewards by releasing “feel good” hormones like dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins, in order to guide us toward fulfilment. So remember not to shoot the messenger! Next time you are feeling a difficult emotion, think about what it might be signposting for you!
- They always come in groups: it is impossible for anyone to ever feel one emotion alone:
They work together to deliver their messages. For example, anger usually comes with fear, frustration, or feeling misunderstood, and happiness often comes with confidence, excitement, and a feeling of love or calm. So the next time you check in with how you are feeling, don´t stop at the loudest emotion, keep looking to identify and acknowledge the whole group of emotions that are coming up for you!
- We need to direct our emotions so that we hear them: Since all emotions come in groups, we need to create space to decipher the messages within the wall of noise. Tools to direct might include taking deep breaths, going for a walk, journaling, and listening to music.
Of course, emotional wellness is important for everyone, particularly for parents and teachers! And on May 27 Flip Grid is hosting another community conversation on mental health awareness, this time focusing on self-care. You can set a reminder and tune in HERE.