Be REAL Week 3

Coming Back to Balance

This week our session focused on emotion regulation, including how to understand our emotions and support ourselves when it feels like strong emotions take over. We also practiced Yoga and Tuning into the Senses as ways to strengthen the mind-body connection.

Below is a summary of skills we discussed as well as links to guided practices and articles for additional reading. 


Tending to Our Emotions

Feelings aren’t good or bad. They tell us what we need to tend to. Acknowledging our feelings – with kindness – can help us process them. 



Looking for resources to help build your emotional awareness?


The practices below can be useful when it feels like strong emotions are taking over.

3 – 2 – 1

This practice helps engage the cognitive functions of your brain, which can he helpful when strong emotions surface. To practice:

  • Take two slow breaths. 

  • Softly or silently name:
    • 3 things you can see
    • 2 things you could touch
    • 1 thing you can hear

  • Take two more breaths.

+2 Breathing

Exhaling longer than you inhale can slow down the heart rate and turn on the relaxation response. For example, if you breathe in for 4 seconds then breathe out for 6 seconds. Our audio file +2 Breathing (Respiración Extendida) can help you practice.

Tip: If comfortable, breathe in and out through the nose. This can increase your breath capacity. 

Note: If exhaling 2 counts longer than you inhale doesn’t feel comfortable, try 1 count or a brief pause. For example, if you are grasping for the next in-breath it may be a sign from your body to try something different. The breath changes day-to-day so find what you need.


Willing Hands

With Willing Hands, we are opening our hands and ourselves to feel compassion and to connect with what is best in a situation. To practice:

  • Close your hands and make fists.
  • Pause for five seconds and notice what you feel.
  • Open your hands slowly.
  • Pause for five seconds and notice what you feel.

As you open your hands, intentionally connect with what is best and will be effective in a situation. This can help you connect with Wise Mind, which we discussed in Week 2. 


Strengthening the Mind-Body Connection

Be Real Yoga Week 3

This week we practiced another yoga sequence for releasing muscular tension and settling the mind. Click the image to download a PDF of the practice.

Additionally, below are a few free yoga resources from a variety of traditions that we also shared in Week 1:

Remember, even a few gentle poses can make a significant difference in how you feel throughout the day. See if you can find time to pause and do two poses between classes or meetings. Another great time is taking 5-10 minutes for gentle movement before sleeping since Yoga can help settle the mind

Tuning into the Senses

Being mindful of our senses can help us connect more with our experiences. When we bring awareness to our senses, we can become fully immersed in the moment. Try our 7-minute practice Tuning into the Senses (Atención Plena en los Sentidos). 


Noticing Your Inner Voice

The activity we shared, “How would you treat a friend”, provides a foundation to self-compassion. It is common to be kinder to others than it is to ourselves. However, extending that same kindness, support and compassion towards ourselves is important because it helps us handle our emotions and difficult situations. Instead of denying our experiences or emotions, self- compassion allows us to accept our emotions and identify what we need to tend to our experiences. Visit the website for the script if you wish to do this activity again. 


Home Practice

Noticing Practices

  • Emotional Responses: What types of emotions do you notice the most? How do you experience those emotions?
  • Your Inner Voice. How do you talk with yourself? Is it the same as how you would talk with a friend?

Guided & Reflective Practices

About Be REAL
Be REAL (Resilient Attitudes & Living) was developed at the University of Washington Center for Child & Family Well-Being. The program’s aim is to promote the well-being of college students and staff by building skills to cope with emotions, navigate challenging situations, and strengthening internal awareness. Learn more.