FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Hundreds of parents and students packed the Trumbull High School auditorium for a lively session on emotional intelligence and how knowing how to recognize and regulate feelings can affect performance in school, work and life.
“Emotion management is tough, isn’t it?” lecturer Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, asked the audience last week. “We’d all be a little healthier and happier if we were more skilled at regulating feelings.”
Brackett, one of the world’s leading experts on the subject, led the group through a series of exercises to help them better understand their own feelings, as well as those of their family members.
Parents were asked to imagine going through a high school student’s day, including a rushed breakfast, multiple classes and tests and an evening filled with homework and other obligations. Children talked about how the stress of modern life can make them worry or just “zone out.”
“How you feel as an adult or children influences your attention,” Brackett said.
Superintendent of Schools Gary Cialfi invited Brackett to address Trumbull families because teachers and administrators were so impressed by a talk he gave at the start of the school year.
“Dr Bracket made a profound impression on the entire Trumbull Public Schools staff as the convocation keynote speaker in August and we’re very fortunate to have secured his time to share his insights with our parents, students, and the general public,” he said.
In this presentation, Brackett shared the results of a large-scale survey that provides insights to the emotional lives of America’s teens. Key components included the role of emotions in learning, decision making, relationships, mental health, and academic performance.
Brackett encouraged parents and teens to consider “RULER,” an evidence-based approach he has co-created that involves recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing and regulating emotions. The approach has been adopted by more than 1,000 public and private schools.
He said he would be happy to come back for another session in Trumbull.
“Everyone needs strategies for regulating emotions,” he said.