The Emotions Express!
Speech given by Dr. Jyoti Hegde on 13th August 2017 at Ana Fonte Toastmasters Club at Margao, Goa.
If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands. If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands. We learnt this song as toddlers. Recently, I came across another version of it, If you are happy and you know it shout it out. If you are angry and you know it stomp your feet... and so on. Expressing emotions through actions is great for toddlers but as they grow its important to build their emotional vocabulary - the words used to express one's feelings. This helps them label their emotions more accurately. It also helps them to express their emotions through words instead of expressing through negative body language or actions. Recently I came up with a story to help kids to label their feelings. Let me share with you the story - The Emotions Express.
One day Tina was playing in a garden. Suddenly, a piece of magical melodious music fell on her ears. Curious, she moved in the direction of the music. The music was coming from a colourful train. The train was named "The Emotions Express." It had four coaches each having its own colour and name - Glad, Sad, Mad and Scared. Tina was drawn to the green coach named Glad since the music came from it. She opened the door, and saw a mind-blowing sight. Characters with name tags were dancing hand in hand. One of them welcomed Tina and said, "Hi, I am the word Happy. Please join us in our celebration." Tina felt happy to meet Happy, as he looked happy. Happy then introduced his siblings and said, "Most kids are not familiar with Enthusiastic, Excited, Confident, and so they don’t use these words much. However, I am the most used word." Happy explained to Tina what each word meant. Tina found these words to be full of positive energy. She wanted to spend more time with them but she was also curious to know what was there in the other coaches.
Next, she went to the blue coach named Sad. On opening the door she saw characters sitting silently in a corner with sad faces. Tina introduced herself, "Hi, I'm Tina. What are your names? Why do you look so sad?" "Hi, I am the word, Sad," said one of the characters. "When Kids feel sad, they do not use the word Sad. Instead, they usually express this emotion by crying. Meet my siblings, Disappointed, Embarrassed, and Hurt." Tina learnt the meaning of each word and realized that every time she was feeling down, Sad was not the right word for it. She said, "When I don't get what I want, I can say I am disappointed. If someone treats me unfairly I can say I am feeling hurt. If I trip and fall on the stage I can say I am feeling embarrassed."
She then ran towards the red coach named Mad. She could hear heated arguments. When Tina opened the door, a name tag came flying out! She dodged and just missed it. "I am the word Angry", said a heated voice. "We are fighting as there was a competition among all the words used by kids to express their feelings and we got the lowest score. When Kids feel angry, they do not say I am angry. They express their feeling by harming themselves, others or damaging things. My siblings too have become aliens to kids. They are Frustrated, Jealous, and Irritated." Tina realised that she too was one of those kids who would express these emotions by breaking objects or hitting others. She remembered, "I felt jealous when the teacher selected Meena for the main role in the school play. I feel irritated when my sister disturbs me when I'm studying." She promised herself that the next time she would express these feelings through words.
Finally she entered the yellow coach marked Scared. Scared came and introduced his siblings quickly to Tina in a shivery voice, "I am the word Scared. This is Nervous, Worried and Threatened." Saying this Scared ran inside. Tina realised she felt nervous when she was asked to speak on stage, felt worried when her parents would not reach home on time. She felt threatened when some of her classmates started bullying her.
Just then someone poured water on Tina's face. She opened her eyes and realised that she had been woken up from a beautiful dream by her younger sister, Ela. Her first instinct was to hit Ela, but she remembered her promise and said, "Ela, I am feeling frustrated because you woke me from my beautiful dream of The Emotions Express." Tina had started expressing her emotions through words.
Research says labelling our emotions and expressing them through words makes our sadness, anger and fear less intense and we are able to deal with it in a better way. So If you are angry and you know it you can stomp your feet but also say "I am feeling angry!" It will help you to calm down faster. However, if you are happy with my speech, you can clap your hands...
Dr. Jyoti Hegde is a Corporate soft skills trainer and a life skills trainer for kids based in Goa, India. Her passion is to conduct sessions for kids on the values, habits, and life skills needed for health, happiness and success.