How Emotions are an Effective Driver for Success for Teens
New research is starting to show how identity and emotion influence one another. According to C. Rudolph Swenson, a psychology professor at Purdue University, identity and emotion are the opposite of one another. Emotions are the sensation we feel while we know ourselves as an individual. Identity is the feeling associated with the individual with no relation to others or any other person. This makes the emotions that dominate each individual feel very natural for him/her.
The way identity and emotion are related is surprising, not only because identity is considered part of biology, but also because emotion and identity seem very different. Emotions are a natural part of everyday life whereas identity can be very far removed from an individual’s life.
The Atlantic ran an article titled, “A better foundation for teens’ emotional lives,” in which Swenson says that these feelings run parallel. He explains, “emotions are also connected to the first stage of personal identity development, and emotions are a priority when developmental psychologists think about our children’s emotional development. The connection between emotions and developmental psychology is related to three interrelated human needs: caring, being understood, and belongingness.”
Swenson explains that by introducing teens to emotional expression at an early age, they are already giving themselves the same emotions they are going to experience in other situations. He likens their mother’s or father’s emotions with the emotions they feel in their own lives.
This makes it easier for the teen to talk about these emotions instead of needing to go away to a therapist to be alone. If the teen understands emotions from a young age, he or she is more open to them.
Essentially, it is easier for teens to understand the emotions of others and can feel more at ease.
Swenson goes on to explain that in addition to helping with emotional growth, these emotions help the teen reach a higher level of confidence. Students who feel more confident tend to be more successful in school. Not only does a higher level of confidence help the teen be a stronger part of society, but also makes him or her less prone to addiction, depression, and lack of motivation.
To keep this in mind, Swenson points out that the presence of emotions can act as a GPS, telling the teen when to go to school, and telling him or her when to leave. Emotions also keep the teen in check, making sure he or she never forgets anything. Emotions help the teen remember important things.
Overall, Swenson’s research and comments are a great example of how emotions can be used to motivate teens in the classroom. It isn’t until someone recognizes emotions and how they impact a situation, however, that someone can change their habits and behaviors.
The student can then begin to see the connection between emotions and their behavior and behaviors. If a teen is reluctant to come to class, for example, an understanding and experience with emotions may help motivate that teen to come to class and show that emotions are both powerful and necessary.
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