We all can feel a wide range of emotions, and at times they can feel quite large. Sometimes, big emotions can even make us feel scared. This could be due to responses we have, for example throwing something down when mad. This could be do to how it makes our body change, for example our heart rate going up or our body feeling like a stiff, uncooked piece of spaghetti. This could be due to our not feeling in control of our body or our actions. There are so many reasons big emotions can make us feel scared. It could even be a happy emotion like excitement!
As we are learning and teaching how to regulate ourselves and our reactions, it is important to learn that we do not have to be scared of our emotions. They are are flowing through us. In that moment they are our reality, but they are not who we are and do not define us. As we learn and experience this, we can learn we do not need to feel scared of big emotions. We can create a space to give a thoughtful, intentional response. We can learn to hold the emotion, and take care of ourselves.
For children, anger is an easy emotion to learn this through. No matter what a child is feeling, it can manifest as anger. Fear, frustration, actual anger, sadness, they all can turn into anger. If a child is describing any of these emotions, they describe anger. Positive emotions manifest in anger at times as well. Think of the child who has had something very fun happen and becomes very excited or eager. Then, sometimes without a moments notice, they hit a plateau and crash. That crash comes out often as anger. Children, particularly young children, most often have a smaller base of experience to work from than us adults, and a smaller vocabulary to describe their experiences. But they all are familiar with anger, making it a great talking point.
Along with talking about breath, the weekly mindfulness lessons are talking about anger. Soon this talk will move to other emotions and feelings. But right now it is anger. Children read one or two books about children (well, one child was a cow child, but still a child) who were angry. In these books the children were introduced to the idea of taking care of their anger and settling their minds. The breath is of course is our way of helping take care of our anger, and helping us settle our minds. We will be talking more about this idea in the coming weeks, and will be making a book to help others know how to take care of their big emotion.