One component of a successful kindergarten classroom is the establishment of a routine for children to settle into, a series of constants that reassure new students. As adults we also build routines to accommodate responsibilities or allow for better time management, but also to give us a sense of control – a method for handling stressful, unusual or undesirable situations. Unfortunately, without a nurturing teacher to help structure our lives, sometimes our personal routines are more destructive and unhealthy than they are helpful or stress- relieving. Thus, looking to kindergarten for examples of better habits may be just what the doctor ordered:
Every morning in kindergarten, each student shares how they are feeling with the class – (generally limited to expressions of “happy”, “excited”, “sad”) and at the end of the day, they recount something new or different they did. Though it sounds juvenile, this meta-cognitive session is a fantastically healthy and helpful routine for people at any age; an opportunity to process and appreciate why we act the way we do.
Rarely do we take time to consciously monitor our mood, thoughts, body, etc., which means we often subconsciously project our emotions from one circumstance to another. Allowing physical/emotional inventory time helps to prevent choices that become part of a hazardous routine. Example: recognizing that you woke up feeling anxious for a looming deadline allows you to focus energy on getting work done, rather than blaming your mood on someone else or letting your emotions morph into anger.
Take time to think seriously about how you feel when you wake up, and then voice your analysis; “I feel ____ today, because…” Acknowledge when you’re feeling excited or happy, and try to pick out what has allowed you to feel so good. If you’re feeling sad/angry, it’s important to accept the emotion and consider why you’re feeling that way, but not to dwell on it, as unnecessary concentration on negativity triggers emotion projection and exaggeration.
The concluding portion of the check-in forces us to pick out highlights of our day.