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Healthy Emotional Expression

When things go wrong, don’t go with them.
Elvis Presley (1935 – 1977), American singer

"How to Express Your Emotions in a Healthy Way: 30 Practical Tips," an article on Positive, explains that being able to express one’s emotions appropriately is associated with greater life satisfaction and better adjustment to stressors. The article encourages teaching children this skill at an early age: "By using tools such as faces conveying different emotions," it recommends, "children will be helped to understand the words for different emotions."

"Recognizing how a child might be feeling, and then giving her the language to describe that feeling can be a first step in helping her mature emotionally," writes Laura Mickley in the Out of the Box Training, "Building Bridges Through Words."

She describes a typical classroom experience:

"'Sally, you look like you’re angry right now. Did Johnny take your toy?' Sally has just swatted Johnny for indeed taking that toy and she is angry. If we go right into a negative response, we have missed a learning opportunity, the chance to help Sally understand what she is feeling, and to give that feeling a name or a label. Until we have laid that groundwork, we cannot possibly expect her to have a mental collection of possible reactions from which to choose."

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