12 Ways to Control Difficult Emotions

zenPose copyIf you have a tween at home then you know just how easily and quickly their emotions can spin them out of control, taking you along for the ride. I swear I saw my son’s head spin a full 360° tonight. Where’s an exorcist when you need one?!

But never fear, help has arrived. Here’s a list of twelve tools that can help kids manage through their strong feelings, like anger, anxiety, fear and depression, without losing their humanity. And they may even help you keep calm and carry on too.

  • Take five deep breaths, letting each breath out very slowly.
  • Relax your body, starting with your neck and working down to your toes. You can massage each muscle group to help you relax.
  • Close your eyes and pretend that you are in a peaceful place. Use all your senses to experience this place.
  • Listen to quiet, relaxing music.
  • Stretch your body out like a cat waking up from a nap.
  • Slowly draw concentric circles. As you draw each circle, breathe deeply and feel yourself relax a little more.
  • Say “I can do this” to yourself ten times. Each time you say it, feel calmer and more competent.
  • Read an article or a book about someone who inspires you.
  • Take a long walk, preferably in a scenic place.
  • Look at something beautiful, like a cloud or a flower, for at least five minutes. Pay attention to every detail.
  • Chew sugarless gum; it produces calming chemicals in your brain.
  • Think about, and be grateful for, all the wonderful things in your life.

Excerpted from I’m Not Bad, I’m Just Mad: A Workbook to Help Kids Control Their Anger

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