At 5th Place we tend to hammer on about how none of us have been taught how to manage and regulate our emotions and build emotional fitness. As a result the idea of “acting like an adult” is up for debate. The enormous stresses that are brought to bear each and every day in our lives eventually get the better of us. All hopes of decorum fly out the window with our dignity and self respect as we act out and play up. Usually spewing hot peppery language.
If we all had been taught how to build our emotional fitness from an early age, possibly we would be fitter and better able to let the surges come and go. With an emphasis on “go”. We would honour our bodies more, get more rest, and be more active. We would acknowledge when we are feeling stretched and our choice to take some time out would be supported and celebrated.
Teach tools and techniques
With this in mind, our work’s purpose is to instil this understanding, and teach emotion regulation tools and techniques, including, of course, our SNAK and Shape of Emotion process.
In the beginning, that was all that we did. We sang, spoke, shouted from the rooftops about Shape of Emotion. This amazing, scalable, easy to use mindfulness-based tool to downregulate (turn the volume down) difficult emotions and upregulate (turn the volume up) positive ones. By using Shape of Emotion regularly you could build this thing we have come to call emotional fitness.
We might as well have been calling into a cave, or a fishbowl or a vacuum, for all the listening we got out of it. This was in 2018, way BC (Before Covid) and no-one was really interested in emotion regulation-anything then. Now, however, it is a different cup of feelings. Not only does everyone know that they are super stressed, bordering on burnout, but they are also wildly aware of the danger young people are in.
Those who have the means, including schools, parents and families are taking steps to do something about it. Some proactively, many still reactively, when the signs become too obvious to ignore.
Matthew in his best and brightest walking gear. We do wonder what he is dealing with.
Everyone is dealing with something
The thing is that nearly everyone is dealing with something on an emotional level. Loss, grief, overwhelm, anxiety, anger, rage, depression, despair, you name it, everyone is feeling some of it some of the time. Some more so than others. Nobody is immune, especially not teens who are already riding an emotional, hormonal roller coaster without all the extraneous PC (Post Covid) stresses.
So what to do about it? Our view is whatever is considered must include doing work in groups. The society we live in, here at the tip of Africa, does not have the time, the financial resources or the qualified professionals to do much one on one. That is not to say that one on one therapy, coaching or counselling is not valuable and useful. It is. We just have to do more for more to attend to the need. In this country with a youth population of over 20 million or 36% of the overall population, that need is enormous.
The supervillains we are training our teens to fight.
Actually, don’t we all need to learn how to vanquish them?
A universe is created
In an answer to this urgent requirement, 5th Place (aka us, Matthew and Chantal, in our giant team of two) created a universe. During the course of the week we developed a new world. It was a big job as anyone who has created worlds will attest. Seven days is not long enough for us mere mortals but we managed to construct it, inhabitants, environment, and all.
It is called the Vibarealm. A dynamic universe alive with the powerful rhythm of emotions, a realm where feelings aren't just intangible forces, but tangible entities that shape the very fabric of this world. A space where joy shines as bright as a thousand suns, sadness flows like deep, mysterious rivers, and anger crackles like wild, untamed lightning.
This world has helpful guides that morph into nefarious villains, when we don’t let them move on after doing their job. It has superheroes in super suits, who are powered by super powers. Journeys are embarked on in the Vibarealm, battles fought, and trophies won.
The Vibarealm where emotions are real things, and so are your superpowers.
The Vibarealm to teach
We are using this realm to teach teens the value of managing the way they feel. As the superheroes of their own lives, the teenagers will take on their super villains such as fear, anxiety, depression, shame and doubt by using their superpowers like breath, focus, movement, voice and creativity.
We have over 80 young people who can come on this journey at the moment. Some have already started the voyage to build their emotional fitness. These early birds invested in themselves and will catch the emotion regulation worms, for sure. Others may hop, skip and fly in a bit late but when they do get on the Vibarealm bus they will be in for a helluva ride.
We are super excited to see where our super heroes go, what challenges they overcome and what lessons they learn. Like Zeus and Hera we will watch over our realm, protective of our clan, happy to let them loose on the world, stronger, more resilient, emotionally fitter and prepared for a very human life.
Do you have any superpowers you have forgotten how to use?
Until next time.
Yours in feeling,
Chantal & Matthew
About the author
5th Place is a dynamic organization that's passionate about emotional fitness. We're the creators of Shape of Emotion, a revolutionary tool that's changing the way we understand and manage our emotions. But we're not just about theory - we're about practical, tangible change.
We offer Emotional Fitness Classes and courses that help individuals, from children to adults, build emotional resilience and well-being. For our younger audience, we've created the Vibarealm, a vibrant universe that encourages a healthier interaction with emotions.
Join us on this journey to emotional fitness and let's make the world a better place together.