Many kids wonder if what they’re feeling is normal or if other kids are feeling the same things.
Is there cause for concern? Or are the feelings you have pretty much the same as most kids?
First – all feelings are OK! It’s not bad to have any feeling. Feelings are a normal part of life – even scary and worrying feelings like feeling really angry, really nervous, or feeling like hurting someone else or even yourself. These kinds of feelings happen to many of us when we’re under stress… you are not alone!
Sharing your feelings with someone you trust can be a good thing to do. It can help you figure out what is causing the feelings, and what to do about them.
If sharing your feelings seems too personal, you can try to write them down to figure them out. Once you have your feelings on paper, they may not seem so worrying. (Get information on writing about your feelings and working things out.)
If you think you are feeling sad, scared or angry too much of the time, you should ask for help.
If your feelings are really worrying you, it may be time to get help.
Seek help if:
- You have thoughts of hurting yourself or self-harming behaviours (Seek emergency help immediately)
- Worrying feelings are a constant part of your everyday
- You are having trouble sleeping many nights
- You are having frequent melt downs, temper tantrums or are acting out aggressively to others
- You are having more trouble with feelings than before
Creating a Feelings Book
Creating a Feelings Book is a good starting point to help you understand those hard-to-figure-out feelings.
Knowing what your feelings are will help tell you if more help is needed… and the book will help you figure out good feelings and not-so-good stressed feelings.
It will also give you a list of things that help you to manage your feelings and help you to figure out when you need to do something more – like talk to someone.
You can make your book out of any paper you have on hand. If you have markers, crayons, pencil crayons or stickers, you can add color and pictures!
Step 1: Know your Feelings
A good way to start is to know your positive feelings. There are many kinds of these feelings. Here are a few examples of positive feelings:
What other types of feelings would you consider to be positive feelings? Try to write down some of your personal positive feelings. Give yourself some space for writing in your booklet.
Step 2: Find Good Feelings Activities
What helps you to feel positive? Sometimes special things like a treat or a birthday party. Often little everyday things like playing with a pet or when your friend shares or plays games with you are positive. Maybe it’s just when a family member spends time with you.
Come up with a list of things you think are positive. Write them down or draw them in your booklet.
Draw a picture of something that helps you feel good, then write a sentence at the bottom of the page that tells about your picture. Or just label what it is in the picture. The point is to make your booklet easy to read later, and easy to remember what you were thinking about.
Step 3: Spot Stress
Stressful feelings are okay to have and almost everyone has them from time to time. Both kinds of feelings are part of life. But stressful feelings can make us feel uncomfortable and sometimes upset. These feelings can include:
- unwell – for example a head ache or stomach ache
There are others too – do you have any other stressful feelings? If so, write them down. Try to remember what was happening when you were feeling this way. Can you describe it in words? If so, write down what was going on at the time you had that feeling.
If you find it hard to write things down, try to draw a picture of what was happening. Think about what colors you use when you are drawing – do they help tell the story? Are the colors happy and joyful, or dark and sad? Using pictures can really help to tell your story and help you figure out what to do next.
There are a few hacks you can do at home to help manage times when you feel a lot of not-so-good stressed feelings.
Pause. Connect. Reset.
PAUSE and take time out from the situation causing you stress and stressed out feelings.
Can you find a private space to think some calming thoughts? Calming thoughts can include thinking of family members you love and who are helpful to you.
Calming thoughts can also be a special place to you, where you are happy and feel safe – this could be your house, your yard, or a special relative’s house. Calming thoughts can be anything you can think of that brings on a sense of peace and quiet.
CONNECT with someone you find helpful, like a relative or friend who helps you feel calm and safe. If you can reach out and share your feelings or even just spend time with someone who is a safe person for you it can help calm feelings that are causing you stress.
CONNECT with music you like that is calming and soothing. (Try to avoid music that would get you excited and revved up – save that music for when you are playing sports or dancing.)
RESET your mood and feelings to a more positive place with an activity that helps. A warm bath can be good for improving mood. Eating something healthy can help, too – a snack like an apple, cheese and crackers or a small treat can lift your mood (especially if you are actually hungry which can affect your stress level)
RESET your mood with exercise. Doing something active can help you feel better and take away stressful thoughts and feelings. Kids have told us they feel differently after going for a walk or run, or going to the park and throwing a ball around. Somehow being active takes away stress and resets your mood to something more positive.
Once you have a few feelings in your booklet, try to think about how often you feel them.
Do you have more of the good feelings than the stressful ones? Or do you find that your stressed feelings are taking up a lot of time? Do you spend a lot of time worrying about things, or a lot of time feeling frustrated or angry?
If so, this might be the time to ask a trusted adult for help. Ask your parent, grandparent, older brother or sister, aunt or uncle. If you can’t talk to a family member, do you have a teacher or coach you can talk to? Is there a counsellor, such as a school guidance counsellor you can ask for help?
A helpful idea is to show your booklet to the person you choose to ask for help – it will help you to talk about your concerns.