Talking to kids about feeling happiness
Nakita: Hi, I'm Nakita Simpson.
Ann-Louise: And I'm Dr. Lockhart.
Nakita: I wrote a kids book called A Kids Book About Emotions.
Ann-Louise: And I help kids and grownups work through their emotions.
Nakita: This is Everyday Feels, a podcast about emotions for kids and their grownups.
This podcast is better together. Listen with a grownup, with a family member, with a class, or with a friend.
How are you feeling today?
Ann-Louise: Ahh. I'm feeling pretty good. I'm excited. So speaking of how I'm feeling, we're going to feel our feelings, and that's okay. Feelings are good, even the uncomfortable and icky ones. Feelings tell your mind and your body what is going on inside of you and what you need.
Ann-Louise: You know, feeling more than one emotion in a moment is very common.
We're humans with a ton of emotions and we cannot expect to keep them all in separate little cubbies and always be in control of them. That's just not realistic.
Nakita: I love that, Dr. Lockhart. I think we often get the message as kids and grownups to control ourselves so that we feel guilty or even sometimes bad when we're overwhelmed by our emotions.
Do you agree?
Ann-Louise: I absolutely agree. I think it's not just kids that struggle with this. Grownups do, too. And it's easier when we keep our emotions in check. But we end up numbing ourselves. We get kind of like, not in control. We don't understand what's going on after a while and what we're actually feeling, which means we start to lose touch with how we really feel.
None of us want that.
Nakita: Hm. I don't want that either. So let's start getting back in touch with our feelings today and talk about happiness. Dr. Lockhart, what exactly is happiness?
Ann-Louise: That's a great question. Happiness is one of those things that makes people feel good. It's one of those emotions that people actually like.
So happiness is a feeling of joy, of contentment, of excitement, of exuberance. There's all these words that describe happiness. It makes people squint their eyes when they smile like me and makes their cheeks hurt when they smile real big. Feels good. And happiness is one of those emotions that most people don't shy away from.
They actually like it.
Ann-Louise: Oh yes, totally. That is what we call ambivalence and ambivalence is when you feel two different emotions at the same time. Maybe even about the same situation or person. And that's a hard one for people, not just kids, but also grownups. And ambivalence is kind of like your two feelings are [at] war with one another and they're kind of like hidden, butting heads.
And it doesn't, it's feeling kind of confusing because we don't know why we would feel happy that I have a new sibling and also kind of jealous or scared or worried. Like people feel like it doesn't really make sense. And so for me, I think that when you're going through situations like that, it's really important to give yourself a script.
It's something you say to yourself, like, it is normal to feel many feelings at once. I am a human being. It is okay to feel feelings. It shows that I'm alive.
Nakita: That is really helpful. I think I'm going to have to try that even today. Oh, you know what? I think we should. Why don't we give everyone listening the opportunity to share a happiness memory with whomever they may be listening with.
Nakita: Maybe that's a parent or a sibling, an aunt, or a friend, a teacher, or a grownup you trust. And if you're listening by yourself, you can see the memory out loud or just think it to yourself.
Ann-Louise: Nakita. I think that's a fabulous, fabulous suggestion. And what I would suggest is just sit and share that happiness.
Maybe you want to [draw] it, maybe you want to create a Lego creation. Maybe you just want to talk about it, or you could do a journal share—you write something [to share with] your grown up, but I encourage you both to take time and take turns in doing it, or just think about it for yourself and then return.
Nakita: Thank you, Dr. Lockhart for showing us how we can explore what and how we feel.
Ann-Louise: Of course Nakita. I'm so glad to be here, talking with you about this important topic. And if you want professional help to talk about how you feel, you can find a therapist by doing an internet search and typing in: child psychologist near.
You can look up all the different individuals, how close they are, what they do, how they help kids and what ages they help. That's a great place to start.
Nakita: And remember, you are the expert on your emotions.
Ann-Louise: Emotions are really your friend.
Nakita: And you're always allowed to feel what you feel.
Ann-Louise: Let's continue this journey together.
This is Everyday Feels, a podcast about emotions for kids and their grownups. Each episode we explore a new emotion, and why we may be feeling that way.