One of the key competencies of people with high emotional intelligence is their ability to manage their impulsive feelings and distressing emotions well without stifling their feelings and spontaneity.
We all have our own emotional regulation strategies to cope with challenging situations.
It’s interesting to note that it’s not the emotion that makes us feel overwhelmed, but instead it’s our own interpretation (our thought process) of this emotion that makes it difficult to manage.
Our emotions, thoughts and behavior are all linked. One leads to the another and the vicious circle continues forming behavioural patterns. Breaking this cycle is part of any therapeutic process.
Here I am sharing a creative Comic strip Art Therapy activity which will help us to explore emotion, thought and behavior connection.
· Two A4 size paper
· Pencil or pen
Think of a recent incident that has caused distress.
What was the trigger? Who was involved? Where did it happen? When?
Take an A4 size paper. Divide the paper up into 4/5 boxes like a comic strip.
Use the boxes to depict the story of that day.
Think of the beginning, middle, and end. Capture key insights and themes below:
"What emotion was I experiencing?"
"What was my thought process?"
"How did this affect my behaviour? "
"What was the impact on others of the way I expressed this emotion?"
Reflect how differently you could have responded in the early discussed situation.
Draw a new comic strip to represent an alternative way to respond to the trigger.
Focus on your changed thought process and behaviour.
Write down how you are feeling now?
This activity helps to build awareness about our triggers, emotions, thought process & behavior patterns. The insight gained can be used to build our coping skills to face similar situations in future.
Emotions are impulsive, but difference can be made in how we choose to respond to these emotions.