This video from Annmarie Chereso is a wonderful explanation of the benefits of understanding your spectrum of emotions (emotional intelligence, or EQ) and the potential downside of not feeling your feelings. Sadness, anger, joy, they all have a message to share.
When we're mentoring children, they demonstrate beautifully how expressing our emotions allows them to pass quickly through the body. The alternative is holding the emotion in by not expressing it or dismissing the feeling altogether. This split second decision can lead to 90 seconds of intense feeling, or 20 years of repressed emotion!
Finding yourself stuck in sadness through not expressing the emotion, or being told not to allow yourself to feel the feeling, is cited as a pathway to depression.
Feel your feelings, all of them. Adult, child, or adolescent. Your body, your call.
How do we develop our emotional intelligence?
Through taking time to explore our inner world. This provides insight into how our emotions shape our thinking and how this influences behaviour, in ourself and others. With these skills, we can adapt and accommodate our interactions with others in more helpful ways. This helps us navigate social connections more easefully and promotes compassionate behaviour.
Dan Siegel shares his learning from a suicide prevention service in medical school: when someone is in crisis, the way to compassionately keep hope alive is to connect with that person's internal experience.
As mentors, we can encourage children and adolescents to SIFT through their mind and the mind of others by focusing on sensations (S), images (I), feelings (F) and thoughts (T).
The most effective way to do this is to model the behaviour. One inner world experience at a time!