Evidence That It Works
This adapted practice is a form of cognitive reappraisal, an emotion regulation strategy that focuses on changing your interpretation of a situation or event. Studies have found cognitive reappraisal to be effective in lessening emotional and physical feelings of anxiety, along with reducing depression after stressful experiences.
Why Does It Matter?
Researchers tell us that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are interconnected. By regularly questioning your thinking in a structured way, you can begin to shift your perspective, navigate strong emotions, and ultimately respond more thoughtfully to your students and colleagues.
For example, if a student yells at at a teacher in class, the teacher might initially think, “This is so awful; it feels terrible to be yelled at in front of all the kids. What did I do to deserve this?” If the teacher is able to pause and re-assess the situation, he can begin to adjust his thinking: “That was not pleasant, and it’s likely that this student is having a really rough time right now. It wasn’t personal.” With this revised perspective, he is less likely to react angrily, and more likely to help this student find more constructive outlets for her own anger.