Much of the emotional education students have traditionally been exposed to in the past amounts to nothing more than putting a mental Band-Aid on emotions. They have been taught to ignore negative emotions, think positive, and simply “feel better”. Although pushing the feeling aside may cause temporary relief, it does nothing to teach the student how to avoid the negativity in the future. Thus, they become destined to repeat the negative emotions, often for the rest of their life.
Riverbend Academy’s Inspiration Station (part of the R.L.S. Program) works by presenting students with an opportunity to acknowledge and understand the negative feelings that are plaguing them. They learn to analyze what they are feeling and accept that these feelings might affect them from time to time. After all, no one can think positively all the time. Our students, by acknowledging their emotions, learn to recognize the triggers of those emotions. They learn the physical changes to their body that accompany the emotions – gritted teeth, clenched fists, racing heart, etc. In other words, they learn the early warning signals that they can use to lessen the impact of these negative emotions. They proactively take control. They also learn that these feelings do not have to be long lasting. By looking back with greater awareness of their emotions, they begin to understand the triggers that brought on the feeling which is the beginning of avoiding and nullifying those triggers in the future.
Only after the student has acknowledged and accepted the feeling and its source, do they choose a substitute from the Inspiration Station. The Inspiration Station card has the opposite emotion described in detail. The card describes the physical changes that occur with the positive emotion. Students can then “adopt” the physicality needed for the emotion. The card then reminds the student to consider something positive to be thankful for that has come out of the experience that caused the negative emotion. Finally, the card gives the student an affirmation to remember throughout the day. This becomes the focus for the student, activating the Law of Concentration that states we become that which we concentrate on most.
The Law of Substitution states that you can substitute one thought for another. By focusing on the new positive thought, we can bring the student out of their current state. We can raise them up to an attitude that will promote better relationships with their teachers, fellow students, and family.
This increased positivity serves several ends.
First, the reduced negativity allows for a more successful educational experience. The student’s day quickly turns around, facilitating their academic success. Second, raising their mood and elevating their positivity helps everyone they come in contact with to also elevate their moods. This produces a better overall learning environment for the entire school. Finally, the students learn a coping skill that will serve them for the rest of their lives. They will become a positive influence in their home, work place, and community, leading others to better fulfilling successful lives.