One thing that both children and adults struggle with at times is the ability to catch themselves before they go into an anxiety loop when they are stressed, frustrated, or angry. That can lead to people overreacting, saying things they don’t mean, reacting harshly or rashly, or avoiding the situation when they need to confront it. I often encourage families to make the acronym FEEL a part of their vocabulary as a way to reset and redirect before things or feelings get out of hand.
F=Freeze and take a deep breath
This is a mini time out. It is a pause before proceeding
E=Express what you are feeling
This is where you stop and think about what you are really feeling in the moment. Are you feeling, sad, angry, frustrated, guilty, ashamed. What is it that you are really feeling. This can be confusing for adults, so it is definitely difficult for children. Practice teaching them to label their feelings by labeling your own.
E=Evaluate what you can do
In this step you look at what can be controlled and what can’t. You decide what you can do to help the situation. Make the right phone calls, improve your study habits, improve time management. You also decide what you can’t control such as the weather, who will live and who will die, the state of the world etc.
L=Let it go
In the final step you choose to let go of things that you can’t control. There are many ways to do this. You can see them float away on a balloon or maybe write these things on a piece of paper and burn, drown, or bury them.