What we can learn from 6 kids who are masters of their anger
Your brain is like a jar full of glitter and other life lessons from kindergarteners.
The elementary school kids in this video by Wavecrest Films are unexpectedly articulate about their emotions.
Seriously, they are so smart! Listen to what they have to say.
They understand what's happening in their brains when they get angry.
They aren't being fed lines; their thoughts and words are the real deal. These kids benefitted from social-emotional learning and coaching in mindfulness at a charter school in Mar Vista, California.
It's obvious that they have a grasp on understanding feelings that eludes most adults, and, frankly, it's a life skill that all of us could stand to learn regardless of age.
Here are six lessons these children have to teach us about mastering our anger.
Because, anger happens:
1. He's just 5 years old, but he knows where his anger comes from — often, out of the blue.
When somebody says, “I don't like it when you say you don't want to play with me," it makes him angry.
Haven't we all felt that way? This smart kid knows that anger sometimes happens when things outside of our control — like a rejection or unkind word — get us feeling bad. It's usually another person that makes us angry (although sometimes we can be mad at ourselves).
2. His blood keeps pumping, he gets sweaty and red — and he knows something's up.
We can have physical reactions to strong feelings of anger, from turning red in the face all the way to punching someone, even if we don't mean to. As this wise young man says, “Your blood keeps pumping because you're really mad, and you start to get sweaty because you're getting really, really mad. And then, when you start getting really mad, you turn red."
3. This little girl breaks it down: Our brains are like a JAR OF GLITTER.
She's a total emotional ninja and just dropped a wisdom bomb on us all.
Our thinking can be stirred up or calm, depending on our emotional state of mind.
And even though her front teeth are still coming in, she said, “It's kind of like, if you had a jar, and then the jar would be your brain, and then you put glitter in the jar, and that would be how you would feel like. If you shook up the jar, and the glitter went everywhere, that would be how your mind looks. And it's spinning around, and then you don't have any time to think."
4. This kid knows it's OK to be alone if you need to be.
Being in kindergarten can be pretty overwhelming. This pint-sized student of zen knows that when things gets tough, “First, you find a place where you can be alone, then you find some way to relax and calm down." Sometimes you need to be alone to collect your thoughts. It's OK to remove yourself from a frustrating situation.
5. Even kindergarteners can learn to calm themselves down by breathing.
On the playground, at home, or in class, anger happens, so taking a minute to wind down your breathing is one way these kids stop themselves from getting out of hand. "When I need to calm down, I take deep breaths," says one child champion of calm.
6. It takes some adults forever to learn what she knows: Stop and think before you act.
This may be one of the hardest yet most important skills we can learn. When this girl pauses before acting out, she describes the way it makes her feel, "My brain slows down, and then I feel more calm, and then I'm ready to speak to that person." Calm and able to communicate? I think she just did a mic drop.
Truly, your brain is like a jar full of glitter. And it can be at peace.
“It's like all the sparkles are at the bottom of your brain."
So, when your brain is a stirred-up glitter jar, how do you calm down, cope with anger, and still the sprinkle-shower?