Emotional Awareness and Regulation

The use of body maps to help with body scans is a great way to teach and practice emotional awareness. It is very difficult to manage emotions and behavior if you don’t know how to notice and pay attention to the sensations your body provides you when you experience various emotions.

This practice is not only beneficial for adults but also the students and children in our care.

The more you practice listening to your body, the easier it will be to be in charge of how you feel and act at home with your families, in the workplace and for students - at school and with your friends. It is a great feeling to be in control of our emotions and behavior but that comes with emotional awareness practice.

Here is a script you can use on your own or read to a child/student. Make sure you download the following body map to use and have some colored pencils or thin-tipped markers nearby.

Download your Body Scan Map

Sit comfortably. Take a few deep breaths in and out. Now, just take a few seconds to check in with your body. Start with your head and face. Then bring your attention to your neck and throat.  Do you feel any tightness? If you feel like you want to move – feel free to do so.

Now roll your shoulders back a few times, how do your shoulders feel? What about your arms, wrists and fingers. Wiggle your fingers. How do the muscles feel across your back and chest. Now notice your stomach. How does it feel? Lastly, move your attention to your legs and all the way down to your feet and the tips of your toes.  

What are the parts of your body that feel good? Bad?

Is there any part of your body that feels calm? Tense?

Do you feel any aches, pains or other sensations like happiness in your heart or butterfly feelings in your stomach?

The sensations in your body help you understand how you are feeling. They are the first clue that you may be nervous, angry or scared. The more we listen to them, the more you will be able to make good decisions with each feeling that comes your way.

Make a mark or color in the parts of your body on the body map outline that you notice the most. Use any color you wish to represent feelings of calm, tension, pain or good feelings like happy or excited.

Great job – What stands out most to you as you look at your body map? What do you need most right now to feel more balanced and comfortable?

My colleague and Starr's Director of Professional Training and Coaching L. Kathryn Hart dives deeper into emotional awareness in Healing Trauma & Restoring Resilience in Schools. Watch below and follow the links in the description for the course page.

Learn more with these offerings from Starr Commonwealth

By Dr. Caelan Soma, PsyD, LMSW

Dr. Caelan Soma, PsyD, LMSW, Chief Clinical Officer, oversees all clinical operations and research at Starr Commonwealth. Dr. Soma provides trauma assessment and trauma-informed, resilience-focused intervention for youth utilizing evidence-based practices, including Starr’s SITCAP© model programs.

About Starr Commonwealth

Starr Commonwealth is dedicated to the mission to lead with courage to create positive experiences so that all children, families, and communities flourish. We specialize in residential, community-based, educational, and professional training programs that build on the strengths of children, adults, and families in communities around the world. To schedule a training or consultation, please contact info@starr.org or call 800-837-5591.