The Storybook Project illustrates the importance of emotional literacy. Understanding emotions is not intuitive. Labelling emotions is a key developmental skill.
Learning to recognize and understand emotions is learned, perhaps the most important learned skill we possess, to function happily and effectively in life.
It may seem we have "always known" how we feel. However, no person understands emotions without first being taught about them in some way, This most frequently occurs in our interactions with others, our "life school." In fact, we learned the names, and many choices for acting on our emotions, by watching those around us, parents, teachers, peers.
Research shows that the broader range of emotions we can recognize, label, and the more thorough our process of assessing choices, and the more mentally stable we are. We can learn to "name them to tame them."
For example, if we learned early on to perceive and label only two emotions, say fear and anger, we will act as though those are our only choices for action . We may consistently produce angry or fearful responses. We may yell or bully. Or retreat rather than take any action at all.
However, if we can broaden our emotional vocabulary, say perhaps at a given moment we recognize we are irritated, sad, tired and hungry - and yes, we can perceive many emotions at once - our choices for actions are broader as well.
We are much less likely to act on the impulse of one emotion. We may get a bite to eat, and rest. Our irritation may lessen, our sadness may feel less pronounced. Perhaps we may now more easily decide how to respond to the irritating situation or recognize our sadness is coloring all of our feelings that day.
It is my hope as an artist, to use the StoryBook Series to illustrate the healthy choices available to us when our emotional ecosystem is broad, rich, and diverse, like any healthy ecosystem.
In that way, a small shift in one of many emotions won't cause a storm of acting out that impacts our situation or relationships in a negative manner.
Tags #emotional literacy #artandemotionalliteracy #resilience #anxiety #anger