Emotional agility: how to achieve it 

Learn what it is and how to achieve emotional agility, learn to live with your thoughts and emotions thanks to emotional management and wellness psychology.

child care

25 February 2020

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Emotional agility, according to Harvard University psychologist and professor Susan David, is "the ability to obtain information when we face situations in which sensations and feelings emerge that lead us to make good decisions." This is described in his ‘Emotional Agility’ book.

The essential function of emotional agility is to learn to live with our emotions, thoughts and memories in a healthy way, while being consistent with our values. But this, which is already complicated in adult life, is even more complicated with the little ones in the house.

As parents or teachers, we must be aware that we play an important role in that guide to emotions that will help children in making decisions from a young age.

How to manage emotions

The development of emotional skills is a weak point in society. It is unusual, working on emotions so that children can be flexible in a fragile and changing world. Our role must begin by making them see that the way we deal with our inner world ends up determining everything.

And emotional agility helps us a lot in this way, since it helps us connect with ourselves in order to move forward in our lives towards the person we want to be.

But how do we start? The practice is the best part of the lessons. If a child feels sad and is able to recognise that emotion, because we have given him enough time to reflect and do something to remedy it, he will also acquire the ability to recognise that all emotions are short-lived and, sooner or later, will pass. This is what is known as having a ‘metaview’ of emotions.


Emotional management: control your emotions

In summary, this emotional agility which Susan David speaks about, can be divided into 4 points, and we can apply them both to the education of the little ones in the house, as well as to ourselves.

1. Show: the ideal is not to try to suppress our emotions and thoughts, especially when they are not pleasant, but to contemplate them with curiosity and devotion to try and recognise them.

2. Leave: between the stimulus and the response to a situation, there is always a margin where we can choose what our response will be. Being able to leave allows us to generally observe the situation and open ourselves to a wider field of possibilities.

3. Know the reasons, ask us why things are the way they are: giving us space allows us to connect with our most central values and with our main goals. This makes it easier for our decisions to be more accurate, as they respond to our fundamental strategies.

4. Move forwardmake decisions taking into account two basic points:

a. Set out small improvements in line with our values, which are incorporated as habits sustained over time.

b. Balance these improvement actions, finding the optimum point between challenge level and competition. This will allow us to act with enthusiasm and empowerment.


In short, teaching children to manage their emotions is an urgent task in the world we live in. Emotional agility will help them in all parts of life, avoiding frustrations and better coping with any situation that may arise.