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“You’re not dumb, you are feeling dumb. And it is not true either way”. How to help our students gain confidence, and new mental skills 

Understanding our own mind as well as the mind of another will give us clarity, connection, and insight on how to improve their mental health and well-being.

To better comprehend our students we must teach them the difference between “feel” and “am”. For instance, when our students feel frustrated, angry or lonely in math class, they might define themselves based on their temporary experience; as opposed to understanding that that’s simply how they feel at the moment. 

For instance, when they say “I can’t do this sum exercise, I’m not good at math” we should teach them to say “I feel at this moment that I can’t do this exercise”. The big difference in the statement is that such wording will help us understand that feelings and thoughts are a temporary state (that can last up to 90 seconds); and it does not define who they are. 

Integrating the feelings of frustration will help us to recognize various skills we have that strengthen our esteem and personality. So, with intention and effort we can help our students to gain new mental skills and understand that one experience does not define their lives. 

So, what are our sensations, images, feelings and thoughts when I’m feeling anxious? When I’m feeling sad, lonely or angry? These are the questions we must help our students to solve to gain more awareness of their behavior, and change how they feel about themselves.

So we have learn five strategies:

  1. Retell the story of the frightening or painful experience so you integrate the left and right hemisphere and start healing. (link)

  2. Instead of command and demand, try to connect and redirect: working left with left, and right with right (Horizontal integration): (link)

  3. Engage and instruct, don’t fall into anger (vertical integration). 

  4. Integrate implicit and explicit memory to make sense of what’s going on, and gain control over how we think and behave. 

  5. We can learn new mental skills by understanding temporary feelings and thoughts, and changing how we relate to them.


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