2020 has been a rough year. As we go into the new year with the promise of a vaccine on the horizon, we may find ourselves reflecting on all the events that have happened this year. There may be a lot of emotions that come up doing this kind of introspection and reflection in the winter months. As a family, it will be important to support each other while processing these emotions. This post shares two practices gifted families can do to help navigate big feelings and find emotional balance.
Expanding a child’s emotional vocabulary has been a long-recommended practice in the gifted and twice-exceptional community. These children often experience asynchronous development which may mean feeling intense emotions at a young age with very few coping skills to work through them – meltdowns, tantrums, and tears, oh my! However, developing an emotional vocabulary helps gifted children identify and express the source of their distress. This can allow parents and educators to empathize and help them develop the appropriate tools they need to tame the unpleasant emotions. Taking away the confusion and shame around feeling “bad” emotions also helps gifted students better navigate their rich inner lives that can, in turn, lead to strengthening other skills, such as creativity, leadership, and learning more broadly.
Tips for Naming and Taming Emotions
It is also important to remember to give just as much bandwidth to more pleasant emotions as we do to voicing our unpleasant emotions. This can be difficult for our reactive brains that are primed to seek out potential dangers or anticipate future-problems. The gifted community may experience this reactive state in the form of perfectionism, anxiety, or even existential dread. However, cultivating joy can be an important step to combating long-term pessimistic worldviews or negative self-talk. Practicing moments of mindfulness to tune into joy can help deepen our sense of gratitude, contentment, and empathy for everyday life.
Tips for Practicing Joy
Whatever way you and your family are ringing in the new year, we hope you are able to be fully present for each other during the holidays and take the time to appreciate your moments of joy!
For more resources on emotional intelligence and finding joy:
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The following disclosure is provided pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 598.1305:The Davidson Institute for Talent Development is a Nevada non-profit corporation which is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt private operating foundation. We are dedicated to supporting the intellectual and social development of profoundly gifted students age 18 and under through a variety of programs. Contributions are tax deductible.
Profoundly gifted students are those who score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ and achievement tests. Read more about this population in this article.