The concept is simple. The trick is to teach our teens to use it all day long, every day. It will become an unconscious habit in students who learn to manage themselves through difficult situations.
- Learn to take just a heartbeat to notice when something triggers an emotional or stressful response. Our bodies have automatic warning systems developed to keep us safe, but we can’t let those override our judgment. They’re only meant as warnings.
- Encourage your student to simply notice what triggered the spike of fear, irritation, stress, etc. Was it the mention of a quiz, a thoughtless comment from another teen or adult, or is it even a physical reaction to hunger or exhaustion?
- Put what happened into a meaningful context.
- Give it a name. Help your students use their intelligence to identify the difference between stress because they want to do well on the quiz or panic because they didn’t prepare.
- Your teen can’t decide how to manage their body’s auto responses until they use their brain to describe the circumstances behind the reaction.
- Your teens use taking a beat to Notice, which stops them from thoughtlessly reacting.
- Now they can use what they know to decide how they will respond:
- Do they need help?
- Has this happened before? What worked?
- Did they learn a lesson that will keep them out of this situation in the future?
- Do they need to trust themselves to do your best on the quiz because they did prepare?
- Maybe they need to use a calm voice and carefully chosen words to tell the thoughtless person that their comment wasn’t necessary—rather than carrying someone else’s mistake through the day, which will make your teen feel rotten?
- Teach them to chose how they want to react and cope.
- Encourage them to think about now and similar situations that will eventually happen again. They always do.