We all know that emotions like love and gratitude are fun and beneficial, but what about emotions like fear, worry or jealousy? Believe it or not, all our feelings serve a purpose. I say “believe it or not” because maybe, like me, you may have grown up believing that being scared is a bad thing and something to be avoided. Fear certainly does feel uncomfortable, doesn’t it? But what if I told you that you could make friends with fear? 

The following is an excerpt from the Reader’s Note in our new book Feel Your Feelings. It explains the basic concept of the book and why scary emotions are our friends.

Why being scared (or afraid) is a good thing

Feel Your Feelings introduces children to basic emotions with fun poems that they can act out from head to toe. They will learn that emotions are our friends. Some emotions show us what we love, others protect us from harm, and all of them put together, like colors on an artist’s palette, paint a beautiful picture of life.

This simple book about learning how to identify and accept the emotions you have creates a safe place for children to act out a variety of feelings. Having feelings is part of being a human being, but learning how to feel your feelings is part of being a healthy and wise human being. Teaching children to recognize and appreciate all their feelings is a wonderful gift a parent, teacher, or caregiver can give.

The basic concept of feeling your feelings

There is no such thing as a good or bad feeling. An emotion may feel bad — or as we like to say, “uncomfortable” — but that doesn’t mean it is a bad emotion to have or that we should try to avoid having uncomfortable feelings. Every feeling has a purpose! Every feeling is your friend. Some emotions teach us what we are passionate about, and some emotions teach us which dangers to avoid. Emotions are the spice of life. They are what motivate us and help form our moral compass.

Why we label emotions as bad

One reason we label emotions as bad is that they can lead to emotional outbursts. It’s as if you have a friend called “Scared” knocking on the door trying to warn you there is a fire outside, but you’re too scared to open the door. So, the knocking gets louder and more frantic until Scared bursts into the room and, suddenly, everyone is panicking because the room is on fire. But what if we could open the door a lot sooner and ask Scared, “What’s the problem?” Scared might say, “I’m here to help. Please don’t panic. There is fire, and we need to calmly exit the building and call for help.”

If we never open the door to our emotions, it can lead to stress, anxiety, and even physical illness. When children understand how they are feeling and feel safe expressing themselves, it allows them to work through life’s challenges and experience the accompanying rainbow of emotions.

The gift of feeling your feelings

This book isn’t just about expressing emotions. It’s also a book about learning how to use your emotions to create the life you want to live. It does this in two ways. First, it demonstrates that all emotions, like colors, are needed to paint a beautiful life. More importantly, it teaches children the principle in cognitive behavioral therapy that if you change how you think or you change how your body moves, you can change how you feel.

You can see why giving a child is the ability to understand, accept, and feel their feelings is the perfect gift! And this is a great gift for adults too. When we play-acted the book, we felt like silly kids again, yet also empowered adults. Give it a try! Your kids will love watching you play along.

Put it into practice

Put these ideas into practice with our new book, Feel Your Feelings — It’s appealing to feel your feelings, and we’ll show you how. For related activities and talking points, check out https://dreamaplay.com/feel-your-feelings/#bonus.

by Scott Stoll

This Article's Author

Scott Stoll asked himself a question: “If I could do anything, what would I do?” His answer resulted in a quest for happiness around the world on a bicycle (32,344 miles, 4 years, 59 countries, 6 continents). Since coming home, Scott has continued living his dream by spreading his message of finding happiness through writing books and working with kids of all ages, including being an artist-in-residence and inspirational speaker. He has also been honored to be named the Cultural Ambassador to Argentina by the U.S. Department of State and has received the Hosteling International’s “Spirit of Adventure Award,” among other distinctions. Read more about Scott on The Argonauts.
by Sara E. Williams, PhD

This Article's Author

Sara E. Williams, PhD, is a licensed clinical child psychologist who specializes in the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with chronic health conditions. Dr. Williams has co-authored multiple research studies, chapters, and a book on the cognitive-behavioral treatment of chronic pain syndromes. She is inspired every day by the hope and optimism displayed by the children she works with and sees the power of dreaming in providing children with the motivation to overcome the biggest obstacles. Her childhood dream to become a children’s author was realized with the publication of this book!

Related Books from Magination Press

  • Feel Your Feelings

    This clever and colorful activity book will invigorate kids to understand their emotions with fun emojis coupled with upbeat rhyming verse that readers can act out. From glad to sad, silly to worry, love to disgust, and many more, the expert authors use cognitive-behavioral principles to introduce kids to tons of everyday feelings.

    A readers note in the back of the book explains the concept of emotions, why they can be labeled as bad, and how they are a gift. It also tells more about the poems, the art, and offers further resources.