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The teenage years can be quite a rollercoaster of emotions for adolescents and often they experience the extremes of these feelings/emotions.

When a person is happy and their body feels happy, they show this feeling through gesture and body language. For a teenager feeling this emotion, they may present this feeling in an extreme sense – excessive laughing and smiling, loud outbursts of noise, body quite active and intense.

According to the young people that we work with, the body will feel these emotions intensely and can react in an exaggerated manner. They describe it as the body feeling the build-up of pressure like a pressure cooker ready to explode. The body can sometimes physically hurt and feel jarred in the joints. At times, it is often difficult to release that feeling and so the person can feel extremely overwhelmed.

There are occasions where there may be an explosion of emotions as the body tries to cope with the reaction. There may not be any evident warning signs or triggers of this reaction as the body goes into overload.

Teaching someone about their emotions and how to regulate themselves during this time is an important skill to have – it allows them to still feel the emotion but know how to identify how they are feeling and manage it when they are beginning to feel a little out of control. Teaching a person to self -calm or regulate using their own tools / strategies is the best possible support that you can provide a person to manage their own emotions.

Written by Sherri Cincotta

Find more information about how to help teach and support someone to understand and regulate their emotions in our book titled ‘Understanding and Working with Emotions – A Teaching Guide’ on our website here:

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