No one likes to experience uncomfortable feelings like fear, sadness, anxiety, and disappointment. Many teens confuse “uncomfortable” with “dangerous,” and begin to become anxious about feeling these feelings; others can get lost in their uncomfortable feelings, dwelling on them excessively. Both responses give feelings too much power. Teens need to recognize that unpleasant feelings are part of life, but they are places we visit, not places we need to live. We can teach teens skills for recognizing and accepting their inner world rather than being overcome by it. Emotion Emoji cards can help.
Print the page and cut it into individual cards. Ask the teen to separate the cards into three piles—Never, Sometimes, Always—according to how often he/she experiences that feeling. Talk about the cards that show up most often. Repeat this over a period of time, giving the young person space to talk about how these feelings feel for them, and what they think they need to do about them.
Look at the page of emojis together. Talk about a difficult day/week by asking the teen which emotions showed up. The pictures can help the young person find the words to express what is going on inside and to share difficult emotions rather than get lost in them.