For the past month, we have focused on building emotional vocabulary. When young people can identify how they feel, they can better self-regulate or self-soothe.
This week, we began focusing on strategies to self-soothe. To be clear, we don’t want to bypass or stuff emotions, but to teach our young people strategies to offer themselves comfort amid ever-changing emotions. Over time, this builds emotional resilience.
This week's focus has been to use the breath as a tool to self-soothe. Different breathing practices can help us navigate different emotions. The two techniques we focused on were woodchopper breath and box (or square) breathing. The woodchopper breath is helpful for when we feel intense energy or emotion; the box breathing helps alleviate worry, stress, and ruminating thoughts.
We practiced these breaths and the context where they are handy tools. Students put these breaths in their “toolbox,” and I suggested practicing them throughout the week. Ask your child to share these strategies with you! The more they practice, the better they will be at using these tools.