How to manage our emotions

Over 50% of Spanish university students feel they need psychological support for mental health problems, according to a recent survey by the Ministries of Universities and Health. And three out of ten schoolchildren suffer from some mental health problem, according to different studies, such as those by the General Council of Psychology or Unicef. Depression, anxiety and stress are the most common among students. All of these can negatively affect learning and have a lasting effect on health and wellbeing. That is why it is essential to learn to manage emotions from an early age.

The RULER method, which is applied at SEK International Schools, focuses on recognising, understanding, naming, expressing and regulating emotions. This method aims to improve the emotional skills of students and teachers to prevent mental health problems and improve overall wellbeing.

To foster this socio-emotional learning, the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence has developed a method to help develop skills that allow us to properly manage emotions in educational environments.

RULER stands for Recognising, Understanding, Labelling, Expressing and Regulating emotions, and it has a sequential and structured approach to emotional education. “Emotions are present in everything we do. They impact our attention, our decision-making, our reasoning, how we relate to others and also our health and wellbeing,” asserts Ruth Castillo, person in charge of the RULER Project at SEK Education Group.

Why should we effectively manage emotions?

Emotions impact various aspects of our lives.

This is why implementing the RULER method helps to improve our students’ emotional skills and prevents mental health-related problems. The benefits include the reduction of emotional symptoms, such as stress, depression or anxiety. Furthermore, it helps to improve relationships with others, reduce aggression, and create a positive school environment.

How is the RULER method applied?

The RULER method is integrated into the academic curriculum of SEK International Schools. Specific activities are incorporated within different subjects and other activities are done at different times.

It consists of four key tools or pillars that are used to enhance students’ emotional development:

1 Agreement tool:

  • Improves the classroom atmosphere by fostering positive relationships among peers.
  • Improves social interactions between students and teachers.
  • Creates a safe environment where everyone can express and share their emotions.

2 Mood Meter tool:

  • Increases awareness about personal emotions.
  • Helps people understand their feelings more accurately.
  • Facilitates effective communication about emotions.

3 Meta-Moment tool:

  • Focuses on regulating emotions in a healthy and productive way.
  • Helps people to pause, reflect and respond to emotional situations effectively.
  • Promotes self-control and emotional wellbeing.

4 Blueprint tool:

  • Helps to resolve conflicts that arise in daily life.
  • Promotes perspective-taking and empathy.
  • Teaches problem-solving skills for peaceful conflict resolution.


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