Knowledge is power. When we understand what emotions do and how our bodies/brains create them, we can manage them better and so improve our mental health and relationships.

The Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution has created a fabulous set of FREE resources to help children and young people do just this. They’re engaging, accessible and come with lots of information for adults (teachers, youth workers, parents, foster carers etc) about how to use them.

‘The Brain’s Amazing Drugs Cabinet’ shows how hormones work in the body, making you feel the way you do. It helps you understand your reactions to situations (e.g. feeling anxious and afraid or enraged) and activities (e.g. feeling relaxed and content or exited) and how you can improve your mental health by making different choices.

Understanding the science behind our feelings shows us that:

  • nature designed them to help us survive and thrive
  • they don’t come from nowhere, but in response to something happening around us (either right now or in the past)
  • having particular feelings doesn’t make us ‘bad’
  • we can take action to look after how we feel and how our feelings affect others.

Knowledge empowers us to take responsibility, make better choices and improve our lives!

Interpersonal conflict – whether at home, work or the wider community – carries a heavy price.

In Scotland each year, 4,000 young people become homeless as a direct result of family relationship breakdown. The SCCR resources (and the training that goes alongside) aim to equip young people and families with the knowledge and skills they need to manage conflict towards resolution rather than escalation.

By funding the SCCR, the Scottish Government recognises the importance of relationship skills to a healthy, creative, confident population. How fantastic!!

Now imagine if every community had a well-resourced hub where anyone seeking help to manage conflict could get support from a multi-disciplinary team of experts (mediators, psychotherapists, lawyers, social workers etc).

What a difference that would make to all of us…

But we can start by sharing these resources with anyone we know who works or lives with young people.

And if you’d like more tools to help you explore relationships, check out our work at Storyworlds Life. Here you’ll find conversation starters for exploring “what goes on in relationships” – a perfect complement to The Brain’s Amazing Drugs Cabinet….

Published by Dr Esther Walker

Esther is a counsellor and massage therapist based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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