What are Emotions?
Emotions are a grown-up way of saying ‘feelings’. Our feelings can be big or small, nice or ‘yuk’. None of these things make them bad, they just are. It’s important for us to understand our feelings, because sometimes our feelings make us behave in certain ways. If we understand our feelings, we can also understand our behaviour and our choices. If we ignore our feelings, we can sometimes end up being confused, or behaving in ways we don’t like. Understanding our feelings helps us to understand ourselves, helps others to understand us, and gives us an opportunity to make good choices. So, are your feelings big or small? A big feeling might be one that you can’t get rid of, or you can’t feel anything else except that feeling. An example might be feeling nervous about a class presentation. It is all you can think about, and you have trouble enjoying playing with your friends, or even might have trouble sleeping. A small feeling might be one that you notice and then it passes quickly. For example, you might feel self-conscious about a new haircut, but by the middle of the day, you have stopped thinking about it. Feelings can also be either nice or yuk. We might call these positive (nice) or negative (yuk). A positive feeling might be getting excited because you are going on a holiday. A negative feeling might be sadness, because you’ve had a fight with your brother or sister. Feelings can be a bit like being on a roller coaster, they can go up and down and around and around, but they don’t very often stay the same. When we understand our feelings well, we also can understand that they change, so feeling bad in one moment, doesn’t mean you will feel bad that afternoon, or the next day. If you have troubling, yuk, negative, or big feelings that seem to last a long time, it is good to talk about them with someone else. Sometimes talking about our feelings can make them smaller. You can also draw your feelings (sadness might be big black blob, and happiness might be a bright yellow sun), write a story about them and sing about them. Maybe you can think of other ways to share your feelings as well. Next, you might like to read our section on emotional regulation.