The ability to put verbal labels to behavioral, environmental and emotional events is essential to both communication and to self- control. Choose an experience that often makes you emotional and practice putting that experience into words. Describe to yourself what is happening and put a name on your feelings and thoughts. If a feeling arises, say to yourself “I am feeling sad/mad/happy” etc. If you have a thought, say to yourself, “I am having the thought ‘I can’t do this’” Or whatever the thought might be. Applying verbal labels to internal thoughts and feelings, as well as behavioral and environmental events helps us to separate ourselves from the situation. We lose our reactivity and can choose which thoughts and feelings to respond to and which to allow to pass by.


  1. One of the “putting words to it” phrases that I have found to be helpful is: “Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can.” Whether you are facing a new task like creating a blog, organizing an art program or even, treating a sick child, one can pause at these words and center on simply being right now as you are.

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