In Chapter 1 we reviewed how the body can be used as a tool for emotional regulation. In this chapter we discuss how thinking and cognition affect emotional regulation. The emotion of anxiety will be the main focus of discussion.
Happiness is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control
You cannot control noticing the 'alarm' in the first place, but you can reduce its negative impact.
Becoming aware of your emotional state activates the prefrontal cortex and allows it to suppress the amygdala.
It's not finding gratitude that matters most; it's remembering to look in the first place
Design activities that allow students to regularly identify their emotions, this will help them activate their prefrontal cortex and soothe the amygdala. One of the programs created for this purpose is the "zones of regulation" (Link to the program).
Design activities where students are taught to differentiate between things that they can control and things that they cannot control.
When students show signs of worry and anxiety ask them about their worries and help them evaluate the extent to which their worries are likely to happen. Also, help them come up with plans to the situations that they are worried about, planning activates the prefrontal cortex and consequently soothes the amygdala.
Ask students to write thank you letters.
Organize gratitude circles where each student shares something that she or he is grateful for. Ensure the classroom environment is safe enough for students to share their emotions.
Korb, A. (2015). The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time. New Harbinger Publications.