ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN)—As school systems continue to adjust to the pandemic, what’s known as “social and emotional learning,” or SEL, has never been more important or difficult.

“We want them to be able to manage their own behaviors and emotions so that they can make good decisions and have great relationships,” said Aaron Hart with Online Physical Education Network.

Hart is a part-time SUNY faculty member and authors curriculum for students that helps them cope with feelings and resolve conflict—a top priority now as children face unease and anxiety from the pandemic. He says kids can empower themselves by journaling.

“If kids cannot seek professional help and get one-on-one counseling, the next best thing for them to do is journaling and it creates a safe place for them to really explore all of the different experiences and emotions that they’re having and can’t work it out within their own mind,” he said.

Hart says it’s important that the journal is a safe place and no one else reads it.

Studies show journaling can be therapeutic for kids and adults alike. Experts say to focus on writing down your thoughts and feelings, rather than just what happened that day to reap the full benefits.

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