Dec 22, 2013

The Emotions Ruler

Within two days, I came across two versions of the "ruler idea."  I read the first one in an article by Miriam Adahan.  She writes,*  "I created a little two-sided ruler. One side shows varying degrees of happy faces and a happiness scale from 1–10. The other side shows varying degrees of pain, also from 1–10." 

She has children use them to show how happy they are or how painful something is or was.  Quantifying it can be very helpful in teaching how to prioritize and maintain a proper perspective.  It sounds like a great idea for adults too! If we had to pick a number to fit a genuine tragedy and a number for burning the onions, that could readily help us tone down our reaction to that which is more trivial.

Two days later, I read an article in Binah by Chaya Spirer Leeder, a social worker, in which she describes being in a hospital and seeing a chart with faces depicting levels of happiness to pain.  #1 was a smiling face and #10 was a crying and screaming face.  The nurse occasionally asked her what number she was. 

In her practice she uses the same idea to "allow the kids to re-evaluate their feelings and put events into perspective, prompting them to think, 'Is this really the worst thing that has ever happened to me?' The answer is usually no."

She also showed how by ranking a bad feeling, it enables us to think about what we can do to lower the number and if we can't lower the number, how to change what we think about it so we can feel better.

I like the idea of rating feelings, for the reasons mentioned above, and also because when other people tell us their assessment, it enables us to understand their perspective.

*for the full article see: here

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