How Emotions Matter to Learning

Who Has the Keys to Your Car? How Emotions Matter to Learning

Last week we were fortunate to have Executive Coach, Janine Stratford, come to speak to parents about emotional intelligence. Here are some of things she covered.

Imagine you are driving a car. Only one person can drive a car safely at a time. As soon as we say to someone ‘you are making me mad’ or ‘if only I’d had better teachers, I’d be more successful in life’; it’s like giving the keys of our car to someone else. When I drive my car, I accept responsibility for my direction, my speed and my awareness. I’m also the one who turns on the engine. So who has the keys to my car? Me!”

Having the keys to your car at all times means developing emotional intelligence:

Self-awareness: the ability to recognise and understand your moods, emotions and drivers as well as their effect on others.
Self-regulation: the ability to control and redirect disruptive impulses and moods (impulse control).
Motivation:  a passion for work for reasons that go beyond money or status (persistence, perseverance).
Empathy: the ability to recognise and understand the emotional make up of other people.
Social skill: proficiency in managing relationships and building networks.

How you feel and behave is mostly determined by the way you think, not by the things that happen to you or by the action of others.” (Author unknown)

5 ways to become a great emotional coach

1. Develop an awareness of your child’s emotions.
2. Recognise emotionally charged moments as an opportunity for intimate discussion.
3. Listen empathically and validate their feelings.
4. Help your child find words to label their feelings.

How to regulate your emotions

Thinking differently (cognitive strategies)
Use positive self-talk, challenge your thoughts and consider the evidence.
– What is the likelihood of this happening, or being true?
– What is the very worst that could happen?
– What would you do if the worst happened?
– Is there are more helpful way of thinking about it?

Doing differently (behavioural strategies)
– Go for a walk at lunch time.
– Sit quietly.
– Catch up with friends over lunch (and not talk about work).
– Sit up straight and stretch you back when you notice you are not focusing.
– Take 3 mindful breaths.

Reacting differently (mindful strategies)
– Accept the thoughts and feelings that make up the emotional experience rather than react to them or let them drive your behaviour. Notice it, Name it, Allow it.
– Use Mood Meter App  to shift your feeling (RULER approach, Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence)

mood meter app
– Design your best version of yourself (My Best Self, RULER Approach) and take yourself there (sometimes called the metamoment) when you need to change your behaviour and mood.

P = Pause for a moment and interrupt your ‘automatic pilot’.
A = Attend to the breath and locate the feeling of the breath in your body.
U = Use the outbreath to let go of any tension in the body.
S= Sense what is present: what you are thinking, feeling, hearing and seeing.
E = Engage again with your activities.