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The One-Emotion-at-a-Time Trick

January 15, 2011 by  
Filed under J.Bright

I tend to be a worrier. (This will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me at all!) Recently, I read that you can only experience one emotion at a time. So when I’m feeling anxious (such as before a four-hour-drive to visit my inlaws), I try instead to think about how I’m excited (such as to see my husband’s family and enjoy my kids spending time with them).

I learned this so very late in life! My one son also tends to be a worrier like me. He often feels nervous before going to school each morning. “Mommy, my belly feels sick. I don’t feel up to going to school,” he’d say. I explained to him about the one-emotion-at-a-time trick, and I worked with him for a few days to come up with things he was looking forward to at school, things to be excited about.

I felt positively joyful, and proud, yesterday when before school, my son told me, “Mommy, you know what I’m excited about today? I’m excited to give my teacher her glue sticks!” (We had bought some glue sticks because she had run out!) I will be very happy if my son can learn this wonderful skill at such a young age–rather than having to wait until he’s 40 like me!


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