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How to Be Stronger, Happier, Healthier, and More
Illustrated by Brenna Vaughan
Formats and Prices
- Trade Paperback $12.99 $16.99 CAD
- ebook $9.99 $12.99 CAD
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around October 22, 2019. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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Featuring full-color illustrations, Just Feel is an engaging and easy-to-read guide that introduces kids to the building blocks of resilience and grit. The U.S. and other nations are quickly becoming aware of the importance of children’s ability to be independent and meet challenges head on; parents are eager for resources that help kids learn how to navigate life on their own. Just Feel is one of the very few books on social and emotional health that speaks directly to kids. Designed specifically with kids ages 8-12 in mind, the book clearly addresses important topics such as flexibility, responsibility, communication, creativity, and self-knowledge. Written by the respected writer and wellness expert Mallika Chopra, Just Feel will effectively teach kids how they can balance their emotions and make positive choices for themselves.
TO MY FAMILY.
I realize how lucky I am to be on this journey with you.
I am, and will be, forever grateful.
WHY I WROTE THIS BOOK
If you are reading this book, it means you are old enough to be aware of your feelings and how things affect you. It means you are ready to be responsible, to express what you want, and to make decisions about how you live.
Perhaps someone bought this book for you and you are looking at it with an adult. Or maybe you are opening it by yourself where you live, in your classroom, or at the library. Perhaps a family member, friend, teacher, or counselor thought it would be a good book for you to read.
Maybe you were excited to open the pages because of the illustrations. Or you were feeling sad and thought the title was interesting. Perhaps you were annoyed that someone was trying to make you read this book! You may have had other feelings, as well.
Whatever the reason, this book is now in your hands, and now it’s your choice to read it, think about what it has to say, and test its ideas in your own life.
Knowing that you have choices is actually one of the reasons I wrote this book.
When I was young, my parents taught me that I was responsible for my actions and reactions, particularly when it came to my feelings. My parents didn’t expect me to be happy or excited all the time. Rather, they let me feel pride and joy in my accomplishments, and they let me reflect on my failures, too. They let me feel sad, angry, and frustrated so that I could learn how to use my feelings to be a stronger person. They taught me to be aware of the many emotions we all experience in life and to make choices about how I reacted to them.
My parents taught me that feelings are treasures—my feelings helped me discover what made me unique, which helped me figure out what I wanted in my life. I am grateful to my parents for giving me tools to be comfortable with and to accept my feelings.
As I grew older, I realized what a gift my parents had given me; I felt I could appreciate the good times but also get through tough times. As a mother, I have tried to teach my daughters—Tara and Leela—that they, too, will have lots of experiences; they will feel strong at times and uncertain at other times.
In this book, I am sharing some of the ideas and tools that we use to support each other’s feelings and to manage our days. I have now also learned so much from other experts and am honored to share these ideas with you. I hope you find them helpful.
Take a deep breath, right now.
Breathe in. Pause. And breathe out.
Ask yourself: How do I feel? Right now, in this moment: How do I feel?
You don’t need to share the answer with anyone—this is a question just for you.
For some, when you ask this question, you may think, I feel great!
For others, you may feel really sad or angry or lonely.
Or you may even be confused and not sure how you feel. Maybe that makes you feel scared. Or maybe that makes you feel at peace.
Perhaps, you think, I feel nothing.
Most people may feel one way right now and completely different an hour from now or tomorrow. Or perhaps they feel more than one feeling at the same time.
That is normal.
Every person in the world goes through ups and downs. Every person feels happy and sad. And for some people, when they are sad, it is hard to remember that they were ever happy.
Your feelings don’t define you. They come and go, just like the clouds drift in and out of the sky. Sometimes the clouds are light wisps and seem to blow freely and effortlessly in the wind; and other times, the clouds are dark and look heavy and rainy. The clouds, like your feelings, keep changing across the sky, and they may look different at times, but the sky is still just the sky. Similarly, you are more than your feelings, and while they may seem overwhelming at times, with practice you can remember that you are the one who is experiencing feelings (like the sky) and that you can reflect and learn from them.
You can develop skills to become aware of your feelings and be more comfortable with them. You can also learn how to see the ways other people’s emotions affect their lives—and maybe even yours! When you know what you are feeling, understand why you are feeling that way, and have ways to manage the tough times and celebrate the good ones, you will have more energy and power to get through every day.
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
Deep down inside, most of us want to be healthy, happy, connected to others, and valuable to our friends, family, and community.
This book assumes that no one is perfect—you have strengths and weaknesses; you make mistakes; you like to do some things and don’t like to do other things; and you, like everyone else, sometimes need help from others. This book helps you to know that you are strong and intelligent, even if you don’t feel it all the time.
This book is also about letting you know that you are resilient—you already have the power inside you to get back up when things don’t go your way or when you are struggling. Hopefully, the information in this book will help you feel stronger, find inspiration, make good choices, and connect with others in real, meaningful ways.
Here is the basic idea you’ll find in this book: If you know how you feel, you can make smart choices and act to create the life you want.
This book presents facts, ideas, and exercises for you to:
be aware of your body, mind, surroundings, desires, and feelings.
what you focus on, how you look at the world, how you communicate, and how you want to live your life.
to smartly manage your time, interact with others, set goals, and do things that make you happy and successful.
Don’t feel like you need to read this book in strict order from beginning to end. Rather, you can flip through the pages and see what may be relevant to your life today and read those sections first.
And while this book is written for you, you can also use it to educate your parents, teachers, and other adults in your life about your feelings and choices.
Ready? Let’s begin!
What Makes You Feel Good
Well-being is about feeling good about your body and mind, your relationships, your community, and your world (the planet).
Some anchors in your life make you feel safe, happy, and connected to others. These include:
being in an environment and around people you trust
feeling good emotionally and physically
having enough energy to get through the day
feeling okay with experiencing a range of emotions—happy, sad, angry, frustrated, inspired, scared, excited
feeling like you can honestly express yourself to others
knowing how to deal with mood swings, anxiety, and stress
having good relationships
But, you can also add:
feeling like you matter and can contribute something helpful to the people in your life or to the planet
being part of a community
having a spiritual connection
In this book, you will break down the different parts of your well-being and also explore tools to help you feel more in control of shaping your life.
You will be asked to think about what it takes to keep going when life gets tough, and hopefully you will find ways to help you think of how you can create the life you want—both now and in the future as you grow older.
What You Control
While there are some things in your life you can control, it is important to recognize that there are lots of things that you cannot control.
For example, you probably can’t control the makeup of your family, where you or your family lives, or how much money your family makes. Maybe you feel like you have no control over the quality of the food you eat or the air around you, what school you go to, or your parents’ schedules.
There are things that maybe you can control that will make you feel better—how much you sleep, eat, study, play, or connect with others. If you can figure out what you can control in your life, then you can take responsibility and be motivated to change those things so you can be stronger, healthier, and happier.
WHAT CAN I CONTROL?
Time Needed: 5 MINUTES
Location: A QUIET PLACE WHERE YOU CAN THINK
Materials Needed: A PIECE OF PAPER AND A PEN OR PENCIL
Look at this list of things that may be part of your life:
What I eat and drink
How I move
How much I exercise
How much I sleep
How much time I spend on homework
How much I do extracurricular things (sports, music, dance, or other)
How I spend my free time
How I treat others
Think about the things that you can control or influence on this list.
Write those down on your piece of paper.
Each one of us can control different things in our life, and sometimes these things can be due to different circumstances. Be honest with yourself about what you know you control for yourself, what you may be able to influence or suggest to others, and what you know you can’t control.
For now, just having this list will help you become more aware of the parts of your life that you can change or adjust when needed. As you go through this book, you can try to also focus on things you may be able to influence.
The fact is that sometimes you can control or change some things in your life and other times you can’t. For example, you may get sick and your doctor recommends you rest—you can’t control being sick in that moment, but you can decide to follow the doctor’s recommendations so you can feel better soon.
Your moods may also swing from feeling happy to frustrated to depressed to lonely all in one day. But if you know that moods come and go, and that sometimes you can influence them, maybe that will make your day just a bit easier.
For those things you can’t control (either all the time or just sometimes), planning in advance about how you can feel safer may make life easier for you.
You can also think about who you could brainstorm with to make a situation better. Perhaps this can be your parents, a sibling, a teacher, or a school counselor. They may not be able to change much, either, but at least you’ll feel like someone knows more about your situation. You may not feel as alone as you once thought you were.
You are Safe
Safety is one of your most basic needs.
There are two kinds of ways you can feel safe: physically and emotionally.
Feeling physically safe means that you feel comfortable around the people you live with and with whom you interact throughout the day. It means that when you go to school or walk in your neighborhood, you feel secure and don’t have any fear. It also means you feel safe around other people and in your body.
- "[W]ith such a wealth of material from which to pick and choose, this resource stands out in offering something for everybody. An empowering guide to finding more satisfaction and calm in life."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
- "Chopra calls upon the reader to be deliberate and mindful, addressing her young audience respectfully, without condescension. While this resource is aimed at preadolescents, its advice is timeless; caregivers will find much application for themselves.... A useful self-care resource that offers various strategies and balms for coping with existential growing pains."—Publishers Weekly
- "This is an excellent tool for tweens to turn to when discussing their feelings with parents or counselors, as well as a resource to use on a day-by-day basis. This engaging guide empowers readers to connect with their emotions and make positive choices." —School Library Journal
- "Mallika Chopra has become a trusted voice as an author and public speaker. She and Vaughan make an excellent team. Their two joint offerings so far, Just Breathe and Just Feel, provide a stable basis for children to face into a challenging world with plenty of creativity, flexibility, caring, and self-understanding."—Spiritualityand Practice
- On Sale
- Oct 22, 2019
- Page Count
- 128 pages
- Running Press Kids