I believe the field of SEL is gaining momentum because the research is clear: adults and children with more developed social and emotional skills make more informed decisions, are healthier and happier, and are more likely to achieve their desired goals, including academic performance for students and job satisfaction for educators.
What is the project or initiative you’re working on that you’re most excited about?
This year, I’m releasing my new book, Permission To Feel. The book is part personal, part science, part stories from running around the globe trying to get schools and companies to take emotions seriously. What I’m most excited about is unpacking the term “emotion scientist,” which I write about in my book. My hope is that everyone will see the value in becoming an emotion scientist (as opposed to an emotion judge). The emotion scientist from my perspective is open to emotion, curious about their own and others’ emotions, and willing to explore which helpful emotion regulation strategies work best to achieve greater well-being, relationship quality, and other important outcomes.
One thing I will explore in my session is the simple yet profound questions we are asked each day—“How are you feeling?” or “How’s it going?”—and why we tend to respond with simple, mostly meaningless responses such as “okay,” “fine,” and “busy.” Each of us has hundreds of feelings each day, but we spend very little time exploring how we ourselves are feeling and listening to how others feel.
This is a trick question for me. Given I’ve spent the last two years writing about the science and practice of emotional intelligence and SEL more broadly, I have to recommend my book, Permission To Feel. In the book, I summarize the critical value of emotions, the underlying skills that help us use our emotions wisely, and the application of these skills at home, school, and the workplace. Of course, there are other books. As a complete resource, I would recommend the Handbook of Social and Emotional Learning, edited by Roger Weissberg and colleagues.