Many of our students react to uncomfortable situations by turning them into catastrophes. It’s easy for teachers to dismiss this as drama on their part.
In a way, it is. And it also isn’t.
It’s a “socially acceptable” pattern they’ve adopted to avoid uncomfortable feelings.
Their story expands and gathers momentum as it’s shared with sympathetic listeners. Our students are externalizing their experience to seek relief from their immense unease. Otherwise, they are overwhelmed with emotions they don’t know how to handle.
Unfortunately for them, it doesn’t work. The feelings they don’t want to feel continue to seek presence. Those feelings will demand attention at some point in some way.
In the meantime, they take up precious psychic space as they linger around unprocessed. Our students become less available for presence because they’re preoccupied keeping up a drama of their own making.
By falling into the cognitive distortion of “magnification” or “awfulizing,” our students seek escape, denial, or anything but the shame and pain of feeling significant discomfort.
We can help them get in touch with their initial feelings and guide them back to wholeness (imperfectly awesome) by utilizing two of our most important cognitive/mindful tools: FLIP the Mood® and Slow Breath Practice®.
Our students need to know that their painful emotions won’t destroy them. They need to learn how to manage difficult emotions in ways that lead them back to equilibrium.