Te Tiaki Kare-ā-roto | Managing Emotions

If you have FASD, it can really help to understand your feelings and emotions – but this can be hard. You may first need some ways to figure out WHAT you're feeling.

Below you'll find some information about how to identity and work with your emotions – and how to then change the outcome!

1. Notice and identify your emotions

To be able to work with strong emotions, you must first have a way to recognise exactly what you are feeling. That feeling can then be named and 'rules' for appropriate reaction to that feeling can be made. 

  • The first step is noticing that you are starting to feel stressed – the earlier you can realise that you may be heading towards an emotional blowup, the easier it can be to stop it in its tracks.
  • Stop and think about what you're feeling; for example, a fast-beating heart, sweaty hands, hot face. Make a connection with those physical feelings to the meltdown so you can try and remember what feelings are connected to which behaviours.

  • Always name emotions very clearly. Get help from a family member or friend if you need it! With teens and adults, name the emotion first and then follow with the words your friends might use (say 'angry' or 'pissed off').

  • To clarify your emotions, try using an outline drawing of a person, make copies of it and keep them handy - one person for each different page / emotion. Decide on some simple colour codes e.g. a red head for anger, blue for sad, yellow for happy, and grey for blank. You could draw faces on them too – like emojis!

    Colour the outline in with the colour of your feelings – this can give you a quick and immediate idea of the state of your emotional health. This might help, especially when you are not able to describe your feelings.

Here are some outlines you can use to colour in, and a 'feelings chart' you can print out. Click on the images below to download and print – you can print multiple copies. You could make a booklet in a file and keep your feelings pictures in there. 


2. Express your feelings – the right way

If you have identified that you are:

  • Stressed and may be about to have a meltdown, use 'calm down' techniques. Leave the situation, take yourself away to a quiet place or outside in nature, do some breathing techniques, maybe lie down and listen to music.

  • Tired – lie down and rest, listen to some music or a story.

  • Frustrated – have a list of physical activities you can do – keep it handy on the fridge or in your room.

  • Angry – express it physically in an acceptable and safe way – punch a cushion or rip up some newspaper!

  • Sad – talk to a family member or friend about how you feel – a hug can make everyone feel better.

REMEMBER: the first thing to do is NOTICE how you are feeling, then STOP AND THINK how to deal with those feelings!