Ruler Announcements

The Mood Meter App is Here

The Mood Meter App is Here

How are you feeling, really…? Tell your Mood Meter mobile app exactly how you feel and build emotional intelligence that lasts a lifetime.   Expand your emotional vocabulary – Discover the nuances in your feelings. Gain insights about your inner life – Learn what’s causing your feelings over time. Regulate your feelings – Use effective strategies to help you regulate your feelings: enhance the way you manage your life each day. Remember to check in with yourself – Use reminders to check-in on your feelings throughout the day. View your report – Learn how your feelings are affecting your decisions, relationships, and performance. Learn 

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Preventing bullying with emotional intelligence, in Australia

Preventing bullying with emotional intelligence, in Australia

The Conversation– By Marc Brackett and Susan E. Rivers. In school, emotions matter. Not only do children with anxiety and aggression have difficulty focusing and learning, they also tend to be victims or perpetrators of bullying. Whether it’s old-fashioned physical or verbal aggression, ostracism, or online abuse, bullying is deeply rooted in a lack of emotional intelligence skills. These skills can and should be taught, though they seldom are. Read Full 

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Do Emotions Matter in Yale Hockey? You Bet.

Do Emotions Matter in Yale Hockey? You Bet.

Emotional skills like RULER are invaluable in the classroom, boosting students’ psychological well-being and academic success. The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence helps educators learn and teach kids to recognize, understand, label, express, and regulate emotions. But what about in sports? Do emotions matter for athletes? “Absolutely,” says Robert O’Gara, a 2013 National Ice Hockey Champion and a Yale University ice hockey player. In particular, he says, recognizing and regulating your own emotions as an athlete are key skills. On the ice, Rob says, he and his teammates constantly modulate and control their own emotions. Maintaining composure and mental clarity helps them strike the right balance between challenging their opponents and refraining from fouls and risky plays. Emotion regulation is particularly relevant to fast-paced, highly physical sports like ice hockey. To learn more about how emotional intelligence relates to athletic competition, I sat down with Rob to talk about it. Moment of realization As a younger player, Rob wasn’t good at modulating his own emotions. But he experienced a turning point during his senior year at Milton Academy, a preparatory school near Boston. “I made a bad mistake during one of my hockey games, letting the other team score a goal,” he recalls. “I could not stop beating myself up about this bad play. Eventually, I received a penalty and was sent to our locker room.” It was then that Rob realized he had to learn to manage his thoughts and feelings in an adaptive ways. And, with support from his parents and coaches, he did. How does he do it? Rob uses several strategies to regulate his emotions during a game. When he faces adversity in the rink—say, he’s made a mistake or his team has lost—he uses a personal trick to turn bench time to his advantage. “I might come off the ice, frustrated and disappointed by what happened out there,” he says. “Rather than beating myself up about it, I tap my hockey stick against the bench and move on.” With that brief action, Rob releases negative emotions and regains his composure, helping him focus on what comes next. Rob and the Meta-Moment The Meta-Moment is a RULER tool designed to help us handle strong emotions. It’s a way to step back from a situation, pause and think before acting, asking ourselves, How would my “best self” react in this situation? It sounds familiar to Rob. When an opponent has hit him hard on the ice, he maintains composure in the same way. “I take a moment to think about my teammates,” he says. By reminding himself of his team’s goals and principles, Rob avoids committing fouls and spending time in the penalty box. Teaching and Practicing RULER skills Research has found that emotional intelligence is a skill that can be taught, practiced and refined. In accordance with RULER principles, Yale’s hockey players actively work to build their repertoire of emotion-regulation skills. “Our coaches provide us with readings on breathing and visualization techniques,” Rob says. “The night before a game, for example, I picture myself on the ice, performing certain plays and reacting to certain situations. These strategies have helped me build my confidence and achieve the right pre-game mindset.” Rob thinks RULER tools like the Meta-Moment could be incorporated into an athlete’s training to support athletic success. We thank him for this interview and wish the Yale team good luck for the coming season. Virginia Peisch, Research 

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Our work is about preserving what it is to be human

“Our work is about preserving what it is to be human — experiencing emotions, being present, interacting socially.” ~ Marc Brackett, Yale Center for Emotional 

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Bendigo school uses RULER to teach kids to get in touch with their emotions

Bendigo school uses RULER to teach kids to get in touch with their emotions

Girton Grammar School in Bendigo, Australia teaches kids to get in touch with their emotions using RULER. School teacher Paul Flanagan discusses the importance of emotional intelligence and how RULER has positively impacted his students. Listen 

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Yale School of Management Education Leadership Conference

There is growing acceptance among educators that social emotional learning plays a critical role in childhood development. Emotions drive how and what children learn, the decisions they make, and the quality of their relationships. What does successful social emotional integration looks like in a school setting? What is limiting the widespread adoption of effective SEL programming? What roles do academics, practitioners, policy makers and funders play? The following experts will  address these questions and more at The Yale School of Management Education Leadership Conference during the session, Emotional Intelligence: From theory to practice: Marc Brackett, Director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Yale University, Moderator Nick Ehrmann, Founder & CEO, Blue Engine Jennifer Hoos Rothberg, Executive Director, Einhorn Foundation Fran Rabinowitz, Superintendent, Bridgeport Public Schools Elaine Zimmerman, Connecticut Commission on Children Please use this link for more details and registration information: http://ei.yale.edu/event/yale-som-education-leadership-conference 

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The Future of Parent Engagement

Changes in family life, schools, and learning are reshaping the roles of parents who have school-age children. Most conversations about educational transformation and innovation do not address the needs of parents. How might we partner with parents in raising successful, emotionally intelligent kids in the 21st century? Who is breaking new ground in parent engagement? As we expand RULER for Parents, we need to know the critical attributes of parent engagement in order to remain relevant and successful. With these questions and goals in mind, the RULER Parenting team convened an inspiring group of educators, writers, and psychologists in San Francisco last month to explore those questions and more.  There was consensus around these observations: Parents often feel isolated raising their children. Secure, trusted relationships, and mentoring are important to successful learning. Many parents feel overwhelmed as they sort through the barrage of information about their choices, and they are uncertain about what factors matter most. Educators can help by expanding the definition of youth success to include social and emotional competencies, risk-taking, and unique contributions from diverse youth. Best practices include school-home partnerships, “boots on the ground” community-based programs, and digital media. Professionals working in this area should map, coordinate, and pool resources for greater impact and effectiveness. The time is ripe for innovation. Researchers at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence are working to break new ground with expanded resources for families, including an interactive, online parenting center and skill-building workshops with families. Kathryn Lee, M.A.  Project Director Elisabeth O’Bryon, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Research 

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Treat Yourself and Your Students To Positive Interactions on Valentine’s Day

Treat Yourself and Your Students To Positive Interactions on Valentine’s Day

For many of us, Valentine’s Day conjures up childhood memories of gluing glitter to construction paper, eating pink-frosted cupcakes, and exchanging conversation hearts. In middle and high school, the holiday may have brought chocolates from a boyfriend, a gushy note from a secret admirer, or just eye rolls. Though it feels different depending on our ages, the focus on relationships on Valentine’s Day will likely never change. With the season’s heart-shaped decorations as a reminder, educators can use mid-February to focus on relationships in school. There’s a simple strategy adults and kids can use to enjoy more positive, productive communications in our hallways, cafeterias, and classrooms: vent less and focus more on solutions. Venting can feel good. However, it backfires by actually making us more angry and negative about the situation we’re complaining about. Researchers find that it raises the likelihood that we will retaliate against others, lowers our self-esteem, and decreases our ability to negotiate and solve problems. It’s not that we should never voice honest negative thoughts and feelings, but constant harping is a downer, and it can be damaging. People express the most negativity not to casual acquaintances but those they see on a daily basis. That can sour those relationships. “Time is precious. Focus on the solution, not the problem.” ~ Author unknown It makes sense. Why not spend school time overcoming our challenges and celebrating our successes rather than complaining for the sake of complaining? Here are some tips to share at school that can help us vent less and problem solve more. Set a good example. Emotions are contagious. You can choose to play “misery poker” in the faculty lounge or hallways, always trying to trump the complaints of others with your own stories. Students may do the same with their friends between classes or in the school cafeteria. Or we all can choose to smile, laugh, or reframe a bad situation into a funny story. Let’s challenge ourselves to exemplify warmth and positive problem solving. Hold your tongue. Your car didn’t start. You were almost late for first period. Your students were inattentive and unruly all morning. How to cope with all these annoyances? You could unload on a colleague the moment he or she walks into the faculty lounge. Alternatively, you could focus on the good stuff that happened today: an award one of your students won or the praise you overheard for the committee the colleague leads. Likewise, if someone begins to complain and waits for you to chime in, acknowledge his or her feelings, but resist the urge to fuel the negativity. We can challenge students, too, to share success stories instead of complaints, to ask about their friends’ accomplishments instead of their frustrations, and to keep the miserable “inside voice” inside. Brainstorm ideas. When you feel livid after a staff meeting or when your student finds out he or she bombed a test or didn’t make the team, you can each take a moment to regroup. Then it’s time for finding ideas about how to turn things around. Ask yourself or your student: Is there something you could do to handle a similar situation better? What can you do right now? Maybe you can schedule a meeting with the principal to discuss the issue from the meeting that bothered you. Maybe your student can join a study group or create a sports practice schedule to boost the chances of making the team next year. Focusing on solutions can help fix the problems at hand and prevent similar ones in the future. Empathy first. Solving problems is important. However, bear in 

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Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Awarded Grant from the NoVo Foundation

Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Awarded Grant from the NoVo Foundation

The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence has been awarded a generous three-year, $600,000 grant from the NoVo Foundation to support the growth of RULER. In recent years, Novo has been a driving force behind the social and emotional learning movement. This grant, the second from the Foundation in support of expansion efforts, will help the Center to build capacity and implement a strategy for scaling RULER, especially in large, high-need school districts (defined as serving over 30,000 

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., His Emotions and Beliefs Moved a Country

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., His Emotions and Beliefs Moved a Country

Today, we celebrate the achievements of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a moral and spiritual leader who became a giant of the American civil rights movement in the 1960s. Also known as MLK, Dr. King became justly celebrated as one of the greatest orators in American history, giving powerful speeches on human rights that galvanized people of all races to action. Trained as a Baptist minister, Dr. King turned his outrage about injustice into fuel for change. Between 1957 and 1968, he logged six million miles of travel, speaking out for civil rights, freedom, and dignity for all. For his activism and leadership on behalf of civil rights for African Americans, Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize at the tender age of 35. It is not only the content of Dr. King’s speeches, but also the thread of emotional intelligence they demonstrate throughout, and, MLK’s emotional intelligent delivery, that continue to inspire us today. Take, for instance, the “I Have A Dream” speech. In 1963, Dr. King delivered this most momentous of all his speeches to a crowd of 250,000 Americans on the Washington Mall; they had assembled there for the March on Washington, a political rally calling for civil and economic rights for African Americans. After offering some prepared remarks, Dr. King set his notes aside and began an impassioned finale: Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.   And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.   I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”   …I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today! This cry for equality, wrapped in a moral vision for all, was spoken with an intensity that remains forever emblazoned in the minds of Americans. In naming and harnessing his own emotions, in expressing them with such powerful eloquence, in connecting strongly with the emotions of his listeners, and in convincing them to empathize with others, Dr. King demonstrated emotional intelligence decades before the concept had a name. On this MLK Day, how to honor Dr. King’s life and work? One way is to harness your own emotional intelligence and turn it outward to do good in the world, as he did. Know your own passion. What ideas and what kinds of activism fill you with strong, energetic emotions? These emotions may be pointing you toward your life’s work. Whether it’s introducing someone else to a hobby you adore or fighting a global injustice, no life-giving cause is too small if you’re passionate about it. Put your passion to work. What might you do to embrace those emotions? Perhaps you’ll decide to volunteer with newborns or the elderly, teach someone to read, or plant a spot of greenery where none was before. Perhaps you’ll take a class to learn more about your passion, or look for ways to change your career path in favor of work that gives you energy. Communicate the powerful feelings that drive you. Very few of us are as eloquent as Dr. King was, but passion and joy can shine through our words or deeds nonetheless. Expressing your passion may inspire 

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“If you can name it, you can tame it”

“Labeling your emotions is key. If you can name it, you can tame it.” ~ Marc Brackett, Yale Center for Emotional 

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Preventing Bullying using Emotional Intelligence Training

Preventing Bullying using Emotional Intelligence Training

Every day in America, at least one child in 10 is teased, pushed, hit or otherwise tormented by other kids at school. Over one-quarter of all kids say it has happened to them. Cyberbullying affected 6% of students aged 12-18 in the 2008-2009 school year, with high schoolers at highest risk. Children who are bullied are liable to experience depression, anxiety, and other psychological issues that can last into adulthood. They also do worse in school. So do the bullies themselves, who in addition to their academic and social problems are likelier to abuse substances, commit crimes and become abusers. Some bullied children become bullies, and a few choose deadly means of retaliation; the shooters in 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s had been bullied. Even children who are bystanders are traumatized, experiencing worse mental health, lower school attendance, and more substance abuse. There are effective and not so effective ways to deal with bullying. Not so effective: Reporting it, telling children and youth to stop doing it, and least of all funneling bullies into the legal system. Anti-bullying legislation may be well-intended, but it’s short-sighted at best and destructive at worst. There is a better way, and it starts by recognizing why kids bully. Kids bully when they haven’t learned to effectively regulate their emotions, and when they haven’t learned how to create and maintain supportive relationships. They are frequently overwhelmed by feelings like jealousy, anger, excitement, curiosity, loneliness, disappointment, boredom, and fear. And they don’t know how to empathize with peers who look, act, or feel differently. They grow distracted, and they act out, often cruelly. But they can learn otherwise–if we help them develop their emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand, label, express, and regulate emotions, both one’s own emotions and those of others. It means effective strategies for managing feelings, expressing even negative emotions in appropriate ways, and behaving compassionately. These skills can be taught, just like math or reading. Teachers can learn how to impart these crucial skills to students through school-wide approaches that simultaneously create supportive and caring climates for learning and focus on emotional skill development. Emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence training is appropriate for all ages, from preschoolers to high schoolers. In schools that teach emotional intelligence, the results speak for themselves. These schools tend to report an increase in academic success, better teacher-student relationships, and a decrease in problem behavior, including bullying. In classrooms that use the emotional intelligence approach RULER, students become more likely to show empathy to others, to choose kind actions instead of cruel ones, and to acknowledge their emotions. These students also ask teachers for help when emotions are overwhelming. In short, students with emotional intelligence training learn to navigate their complex social and emotional worlds with insight, empathy, and kindness. One RULER-trained student named Garreth shows what emotional intelligence looks like. He was bullied for “being ugly,” “looking like an alien,” and “being stupid.” Yet, as RULER started to be used in his school, he developed skills that helped him to respond to his bullies with self-confidence and reflectiveness. A RULER lesson helped him develop his voice and communicate his experience in a way that created empathy in his classmates. Watch Garreth read the poem he wrote to share his experience with his classmates. After listening to his poem, several classmates reached out to Garreth to start friendships. Critics dismiss emotional intelligence and even the general idea of social and emotional learning, saying emotions have no place in the classroom. But like it or not, emotions pervade the classroom, not to 

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2013 Top Stories about the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

2013 Top Stories about the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught? New York Times–  One day last spring, James Wade sat cross-legged on the carpet and called his kindergarten class to order. Lanky and soft-spoken, Wade has a gentle charisma well suited to his role as a teacher of small children: steady, rather than exuberant. When a child performs a requested task, like closing the door after recess, he will often acknowledge the moment by murmuring, “Thank you, sweet pea,” in a mild Texas drawl. As the children formed a circle, Wade asked the 5-year-olds to think about “anything happening at home, or at school, that’s a problem, that you want to share.” He repeated his invitation twice, in a lulling voice, until a small, round-faced boy in a white shirt and blue cardigan raised his hand. Blinking back tears, he whispered, “My mom does not like me.” The problem, he said, was that he played too much on his mother’s iPhone. “She screams me out every day,” he added, sounding wretched. Read Full Article School Anti-Bullying Programs Ineffective (Op-Ed by Marc Brackett and Diana Divecha) Hartford Courant– The school year has hardly started, and the first bullying-related fatality has made headlines. On Aug. 27, 15-year-old Bart Palosz of Greenwich took his life, apparently after unrelenting bullying made the thought of another school year unbearable. Bart was reportedly gentle and kind, an immigrant from Poland with a soft accent and a little bit of acne who didn’t push back — just “different enough” to be the target that youths in many studies say is a main reason for bullying. How can such traumatizing, systematic peer abuse happen when 49 states have anti-bullying legislation intended to prohibit it? Because, quite simply, most anti-bullying efforts are not working. Large-scale analyses show that the effect of bullying prevention programs is modest to none. Read Full Article Yale Expert Says Teaching About Emotions Reduces Bullying Hartford Courant – At a symposium Friday on reducing bullying and improving school climate, Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, told a crowd of about 200 educators that bullying prevention programs “are mostly ineffective.” Read Full Article Yale center highlights emotional intelligence New Haven Register– NEW HAVEN–Emotional intelligence is in the ascendancy at Yale University. The concept, which holds that learning to identify and understand our emotions is as important as other forms of learning, has never been more popular. Later this fall, Yale officially opens its Center for Emotional Intelligence on Edwards Street, which grew out of its former Health, Emotion and Behavior Laboratory. The center, already operational, recently held its biggest training session to date, with educators from more than 50 schools across the country. They join 75,000 school leaders from more than 500 schools worldwide who also have had the training. Read Full Article Botín Foundation partners with Yale to examine creativity, emotion Yale News– Yale University has announced an agreement with the Botín Foundation to advance research in the area of emotional intelligence. The collaboration, which brings new funding for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, supports a scientific investigation of the links between creativity and emotion. A March 13 signing ceremony on the Yale campus was attended by foundation staff members and executives of Banco Santander, the international bank chaired by Botín Foundation head Emilio Botín. Read Full Article Two decades of work at Yale prove emotions matter in the classroom Yale News– In August, leaders from more than 50 schools from around the country will gather at Yale to hear a simple but profound message — emotions matter in the classroom. The training session will be the largest ever held 

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What Are Your Hopes And Dreams For The New Year?

‘Tis the season to reflect upon the past year and imagine all that is possible in the new year. We asked our RULER community to share their hopes and dreams for 2014, and here’s what they had to say:   Anne Harlam, preschool teacher, Lycee Francais de New York, New York “My hope and dream for my school in the new year is that RULER will continue to spread into other classrooms and grade levels as my colleagues, who have responded to the initial training with unanimous interest and excitement, feel comfortable and confident enough to adapt the approach to their classrooms and teaching styles.” Rachel Powers, elementary school teacher, Seattle Schools, Washington “In the new year, my hope is that our school district will work toward growing the approach into other schools so all of our students and teachers can reap the benefits of RULER.” Sharron Russell, director of student support, Shipley School, Pennsylvania “In the new year, I am hopeful that we can continue the work being done to make our school an emotionally intelligent environment for adults and students alike. As adults, I dream that we can approach situations with the innocence, generosity, and grace that is more typical of our students. I dream that we can be less cynical and more hopeful; seeing the possibilities rather than the obstacles.” Deedra Strang, speech language pathologist, Mercer Elementary School, Ohio “I hope that the new year brings resilience, abundance, and growth for our Shaker Heights Community.” Paul Flanagan, grade 5 teacher, Girton Grammar School, Australia “We hope our work with Ruler can set the example for other school communities who will have the opportunity to attend RULER Institute in Australia in 2014.” Heather Rogers, middle school division head, Prospect Sierra School, California “My hopes and dreams are that we practice–that we don’t take our commitment to RULER and regulation for granted. That we practice, practice, practice. That we truly call to mind our best selves and that we support one another in doing so. We’re moving into a period of great institutional change and remembering our Charter, our tools, and especially our Best Selves will help us navigate with compassion, honesty, and verve.” Julie Mayring, middle school director, Bay Ridge Prep, New York “I hope that each classroom has a chance to experience the benefits of RULER and that the teachers see the changes it can make both for themselves, as individuals, for their classroom communities, and for the school community at large.” Laura Artusio, founder and director, PER Lab, Dept. of Psychology, University of Florence, Italy “My dream is that RULER can be integrated in the educational system, also in Italy. So my hope for the new year is doing a good job through our PER Lab team, starting with few schools so that we can start a process in this direction and make schools an inspiring and safer place for children and adults.” Karen Beja, school psychologist, Mary McDowell Friends School, New York “Hopes and dreams for our school for the new year are to foster deeper and meaningful connections and maintain our sense of community as we grow.” Ruth Castillo, RULER Spain “My hope and dream for the next year is to increase awareness among Spanish schools about the importance of emotional intelligence. What we can do for students and the school community today will determine a better society tomorrow.” Barbara Rose, IB coordinator/enrichment teacher, Mercer Elementary School, Ohio “My hopes are to be able to continue on the path we have set with RULER and IB for I can no longer imagine one 

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Emotional Recovery Begins with Teachers

Emotional Recovery Begins with Teachers

As we mark the sad first anniversary of the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, it’s worth reflecting on how survivors recover from such events. Violent attacks on schools don’t terrify only students. Teachers, administrators, staff and parents, too, must grapple with their own fear and anxiety before they can help children recover and eventually settle once more into learning. This goes not only for those directly affected by the shooting, but for the nationwide school community as well. If you’re a teacher, the school is counting on you in particular to do this emotional work. For the students’ sakes, you need to be able to think clearly, demonstrate calm to others, and just walk through hallways without debilitating anxiety. You need to make peace with the discomfort of uncertainty and focus on what you can do to keep yourself safe. You need, in short, to manage—not suppress—your own emotions. Only then can you reach out meaningfully to students struggling with the same task. How exactly to do this is neither obvious nor easy, especially since adults are often set in their emotional ways. But the RULER skills we teach at the Center—recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotions—equip adults and children alike to cope with the aftermath of school violence or any other trauma life may bring. Here are some RULER-based suggestions for teachers on managing emotions after an episode of school violence. Feel your feelings. During a traumatic event, “not feeling” your feelings is fine. Shock can leave you numb, and having “frozen feelings” for a while can even be protective. But eventually, emotions must and will emerge. Maybe you’re terrified to return to school, enraged at the perpetrator, grieved at the loss of life, or just in disbelief. Allow all these feelings. Be aware of them. Give yourself permission and space to experience them; otherwise they’ll slow down your healing process or even show up as physical symptoms. People’s responses to trauma and grief vary widely, so you might feel anything at any time. That’s fine too. Consider regulating them. Once your feelings are in focus, you can decide how you want to act on or react to them. You might channel anger into a brisk run or a letter to your congressperson, or you might choose a calming strategy like meditation or prayer. If you are sad, you might choose to mourn and grieve alone or with others. Perhaps you’ll want to up-regulate temporarily with music or a friendly phone call. Loving self-talk is always in order. These strategies do not deny your true feelings, since you’re aware of what you’re doing. They simply help balance you by guiding emotions in new or constructive directions. Reframe your fear and anxiety. Instead of saying to yourself, “I don’t want to go into that building—how am I ever going to teach again?” try saying, “My students need me, so I’ll focus on making this day okay for them.” Or “I will do my part to make sure my class/school is as safe as possible, and I’ll teach my children the emotional skills to recover from traumatic events.” Don’t go it alone. For many of us, talking to other people about feelings is hard, but the risk can be well worth it. Human beings are inherently social creatures, and our feelings are meant to be shared; in fact, keeping them in is harmful to your health. So talk to someone you trust, someone who can truly listen to and validate your feelings. Some schools or communities organize group conversations; these are often well worth taking part in. Soothe 

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