I was honoured to be invited by good friend, colleague and host Faith Hill to speak on Sanctuary Wellness podcast. Faith interviews a variety of healers and therapists from around the world to hear their stories.
“Welcome to the Sanctuary Wellness Podcast featuring inspiring and informative interviews with wellness experts in a huge variety of mental, physical, and spiritual practices.
In each episode, your host & life coach, Faith Hill talks with a different guest who shares their expertise and knowledge on a valuable wellbeing practice. In addition, each guest shares a personal insight into themselves as people;
what inspires them, what drives them, what fascinates them.
In May I was interviewed by Valeria Teles, a Well-Being Coach, Author and Podcaster in the U.S. She wanted to talk to me about my book and course ‘The Key, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens’ and together we discussed the mental health and emotional well-being of adolescence with a focus on understanding oneself and one’s friendships.
In this episode, Valeria Teles interviews Romi Grossberg.
Teenagers are introduced to the ideas of emotional intelligence, self-awareness and self-understanding: To learning greater life skills and coping strategies to not merely survive school and home life but to thrive socially, emotionally and mentally.
“Your E.Q. (emotional intelligence) is based on self-awareness. It is understanding your emotions and why you react to people or situations the way you do.
Increasing your awareness is important for the very simple reason that it ultimately makes life easier! It is difficult to notice the good or acknowledge the ‘not so good’ in life if you aren’t aware in the first place. Understanding and increasing your awareness and learning some of the tools in this book can help you deal with pressure, anxiety, school life, friendships, relationships, arguments, family life and growing up.” She writes in her opening chapter.
‘The Key’ is a guidebook addressing mental, social, and emotional health. Romi believes that in today’s current climate of an elevating mental health crisis amongst adolescence worldwide, it is vital young people are adequately equipped to handle their thoughts and emotions as they move through this developmental stage of identity.
Teens can learn that even seemingly complex issues or problems can be taught and dealt with in very real terms with practical guidance, learning, activities, videos, and discussion.
Romi’s book ‘The Key’ is broken into three sections: 1. My Friendships, 2. Me and 3. My Family. She begins with friendships because friendship is the most important thing during adolescence and so the best way to engage. “It’s not exactly a lie when we say what we know other people want to hear, but it’s not always the truth either. It is us trying to fit in, not stand out, be cool. We all do it. But wouldn’t it be cooler if we didn’t have to always concentrate or try so hard? If we could be honest with ourselves and our friends and know that everything would just be okay?” – writes Romi Grossberg.
‘The Key’ includes over twenty topics including negative thought patterns, unconditional love, bullying, effective communication, anxiety, trusting yourself, and many more.
https://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/RomiGrossbergwidescreen.jpg8441500Romi Grossberghttp://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Romi-Logo-Web.svgRomi Grossberg2020-05-25 12:01:032020-06-18 15:11:58The Key Is Self-Awareness – Podcast interview on Fit for Joy, U.S.
On 13th December I had the pleasure of being invited to teach roughly 200 students at PanyaDee British International School in Koh Samui Thailand. No, not all at once! I taught in groups of age and year levels. Having multiple cultures, nationalities and languages certainly kept me on my toes. I absolutely love teaching from my book and course The Key, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens. Mostly I teach one year level or work with teachers but on this day I got to teach every year level and then meet some of the parents.
My book and course The Key, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens covers over twenty topics offering coping strategies and practical life skills in mental, emotional and social health including exercises and videos. Below is a summary of the topics taught at particular year levels at PanyaDee School.
Year 7. Age 11-12: ‘What I can control v.’s what I cannot control’
I had planned to do a session on ‘Choices’ and ‘How to Think for ourselves’ with this group but when they walked in and I saw how much younger they looked I immediately changed my mind. In Australia Year 7’s are 12-13 years old and at this young age, even a year or two younger makes a big difference. In the moments of them walking in and sitting down I made a whole new lesson plan and wrote up on the board two columns: What I Can Control and What I Cannot Control to begin a discussion on the way we think, behave, learn, act and react, our goals and how we make decisions. It is important to understand at this young age that we cannot control things such as if somebody else likes us or is kind to us but we can control how we react and behave. We don’t want to be getting upset over things we cannot control including others’ thoughts and behaviours, or the way we look, colour of our skin and our height. However we can control the way we want to feel about these things. What we do in response and how we react is our choice.
They were a well-behaved and well-mannered group of students who were keen to get involved, put their hands up and participate throughout the one-hour session.
Below is the group brainstorm we did on the board.
Year 8. Age 12-13 & Year 9. Age 13-14: ‘Choices’
12- 14 years old can be a difficult age group. Being cool and fitting in starts to become more important than doing the right thing, listening to your parents or even listening to yourself. Peer group pressure and even bullying can become intolerable and standing up for yourself increasingly difficult. It is also the age (depending on culture and country) where alcohol, drugs and sex become a factor. For these two year levels I chose the topic of ‘Choices.’
After a lengthy discussion around what choices are, how we create good options, make good decisions that are right for us, how to listen to ourselves and deal with peer pressure we also looked at where and how we actually make decisions. Do we listen to our head? Our thinking place of logic, rationale and common sense but also questioning, criticising and uncertainty. Do we listen to our heart? What we feel, desire, want, love, hurt and pain. Or do we listen to our gut? Sub-conscious space of knowing, trust and intuition. How do we know?
With that in mind I posed a scenario to the group based on my knowledge of this age group and of the local expat lifestyle in this area. The scenario was: You are at a house party with all of your friends from your school and other schools and someone finds a bottle of vodka. All your friends start doing shots. You don’t want to. How do you come to the decision to say no and what might be the repercussions of making this decision?
We looked at the possible positive and negative outcomes on the physical self and the possible positive and negative outcomes on the emotional self. The large group was split into smaller groups to discuss and the results of all the groups were put on the whiteboard. As you can see from the photo below there can be many contributing factors to the thought process. The idea is not to look at which column has the most/least amount of answers as the ‘correct’ decision to make but to look at what is actually in these columns and listen to your gut instinct to know for yourself what the right thing to do is. What you value (ie:wanting your parents to feel proud or needing to feel cool) will help dictate how you make your decisions. As you can imagine many more topics and questions around what is important and why, how you feel about these things and why etc then enter in to this type of discussion.
The year 9’s handled it well and participated fully whilst the year 8’s, being a little younger were easily embarrassed, giggling, teasing each other and it was clear to me it was ‘not cool’ to participate in this type of conversation. That does not mean it is not relevant. Maybe they didn’t have the maturity yet, maybe I hit a topic to close too home, maybe there is some underlying bullying or teasing within this group but my aim is always the same – 1. That if one student feels more confident to listen to themselves and stand up for themselves then I have done my job. 2. That this conversation may be remembered a few months down the track if they find themselves in a tricky situation.
Year 10. Age 14-15 & Year 11. Age 16-17: ‘Who Am I?’
Adolescence is the developmental stage of identity where the biggest questions (consciously or subconsciously) are who am I? And where do I fit in the world? Although adolescence is considered 12-18 years I believe these identity questions become more prominent in the later years. 14-18 years old is a great age to be delving in to the topic of identity and trying to understand who we are. It is a big question and can feel hugely overwhelming and confusing so I have developed a way of teaching this that helps create understanding and less stress.
After a discussion around the topic I set the task of answering some questions that are listed in my book The Key (listed below). They answered alone before sharing with the person next to them and then back to the larger group. Asking questions in this way allows young people to learn self enquiry skills and objectively look at themselves in the the different aspects of their life, to look at and understand the similarities and differences of the different ‘versions’ of themself.
Some of the students found the questions easy to answer and some more difficult. They seemed to enjoy the partner sharing part too, learning more about each other and themselves. The conversation moved also in to topics around calming ourselves after arguments or before exams including topics such as meditation, negative thought patterns, positive self talk and the concepts of success and failure and how we understand them.
Meeting the Parents
So after an inspiring, exhilarating (and exhausting) day, I had a ‘meet & greet’ with the parents after the school’s day ended. A group of parents from different year levels attended to hear about what their teens had encountered with me. I went through The Key’s topics and then specifically what topics were addressed in each year level. A lengthy Q & A followed.
Click here for more information or to purchase your copy of The Key, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens.
https://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/IMG_5920.jpg512452Romi Grossberghttp://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Romi-Logo-Web.svgRomi Grossberg2020-01-20 11:06:122020-01-20 11:17:50Teaching ‘The Key, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens’ to 200 students!
This November for the first time I will be presenting at the PHASE conference in Hong Kong. I will run a one-hour presentation on ‘The Key, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens’ on 16th and 17th November and a 90-minute workshop on the 16th.
For more information on my presentations/workshops, head to PHASE website.
PHASE Asia Pacific is a conference for all educators focussed on physical education, health, athletics, sports, and experiential learning. The conference allows participants to learn from leading authorities in their respective fields as well as from practitioner presenters, to network with fellow educators, and to access good practice and resources in multiple formats.
PHASE is an acronym based on the core areas that the community aims to bring together: Physical Education, Health & Wellness, Athletics, Sports, and Experiential Learning.
https://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Screen-Shot-2019-10-16-at-10.11.35.jpg96311Romi Grossberghttp://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Romi-Logo-Web.svgRomi Grossberg2019-10-16 10:12:482019-10-16 10:19:26PHASE, Asia Pacific 2019
There is a growing mental health crisis with our teenagers and young people across the world. In Australia alone 1 in 4 adolescents will experience mental health problems this year and suicide is the most common cause of death for 15–24 year olds. The stats are alarming. One person is one too many.
In my experience with counselling teenagers I have had clients as young as 12 years old suffering from anxiety, clients at 13 believing that their parents divorce was their fault, at 16 not being able to look past a pimple or scar to see who they are as a person and at 17 wondering why they should get out of bed when “today is just going to be as bad as yesterday.” I have worked with adults who at 30 were still stuck in negative thought patterns, at 40 were still traumatised from being bullied at school, at 50 not feeling worthy of love and even at 70 still haunted by teenage family abuse.
None of us are ‘immune to life’ — to traumas, to ‘bad things happening’, to feeling like we have failed, to holding on to past hurts and to the complexities of navigating teenage friendships.
But this is not all doom and gloom.
Life doesn’t have to be this way. The problem is that quite often we don’t know what it is we can try. In those moments we have lost perspective. We have lost faith in the world and we have lost trust in ourselves.
My past clients spurred me to write my latest book ‘The Key, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens.’ The most common sentence I was hearing from adults after working together was, “I wish I had learnt those things when I was younger,” and from that I set out to write. The frustration I felt at working with adults who had been carrying their life’s anxieties and traumas around for 10, 20, even 40 years was deeply saddening to me. Five-minutes is too long.
I believe the answer is in education. Not education that says ‘go to school’ but emotional intelligence education, social-emotional education, life education, education of the self, the heart and the soul.
A friend of mine, Kosal Khiev once wrote a poem ‘Moments In Between the Nights’ and that title alone springs to mind when I think about educating teens. It’s not in the ‘going to class,’ but the moments in between — the moments when no one is looking, when your mind suddenly turns, when doubt, fear, embarrassment, a memory, sadness, anxiety or negative thoughts kick in. It’s in those moments that we need to learn the self-awareness, the skills, tools and coping strategies to find our own balance again.
We can teach young people how to gain perspective, how to process their thoughts, emotions, behaviours and understand how and why they react to situations the way they do. We can teach them to understand and redefine terms such as success and failure. We can teach them self enquiry and self awareness, teach them how to better understand themselves, better understand friendships and the roles they play, that there is always someone they haven’t thought of they can talk to, something else they can try. We can teach them how to breathe — to calm down and to steady the mind. And to remind them that they are in control, that they have choice — choice in their actions, reactions, thoughts and behaviours. That there is ALWAYS something they can do. Life doesn’t happen TO us, we need to learn how to get back in the driver’s seat.
Through self-awareness we can create behaviour change but we cannot change what we are not aware of.
Yes we can even break out of negative thought patterns or better understand and cope with anxiety. There are simple steps that can be followed and in my book and videos I guide teens step-by-step in a very simple, practical and no bullshit way. I don’t brush over topics or say “Oh you’ll be okay.” he book gently holds their hand and takes them on a journey of self discovery where they learn to better understand themselves, find their strengths and resilience and get back in control of themselves.
In psychology terms, adolescence is the developmental stage of identity. Who am I? It is a powerful thing to begin to answer that question as a teen. How many adults can truly answer it?
* The Key, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens is not a substitute for a specialised mental health counsellor or diagnosed mental health conditions.
‘Teen Mental Health’ was posted in Medium in September 2019.
https://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/IMG_3107-1-1-e1569463848523.jpg256200Romi Grossberghttp://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Romi-Logo-Web.svgRomi Grossberg2019-09-26 09:02:312020-06-22 13:55:56‘Teen Mental Health,’ Medium
In the six days I was in Melbourne this week launching my new book ‘THE KEY, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens’ at the Cultures of Thinking conference, I was approached by Lisa Entwisle from Wellthy Living; Guiding you to Live a Wealthy Life, through Connection to Self, Others and the World around you to do a podcast interview.
Episode #28: Social Emotional Tools for Teens.
Mental health and emotional well being are getting lots of air time in the world right now…and rightly so. We are living in a world where anxiety, depression and suicide rates are continually rising.
In this episode I chat with Social worker, author, keynote speaker and workshop facilitator Romi Grossberg to discuss her fabulous new book “the key – a social emotional toolkit for teens – which aim to teach teenagers self awareness, emotional intelligence and practical life coping skills to help reduce the rates of mental illness.
Lisa Entwisle – Podcast host and founder of Wellthy Living: “My mantra is “connection is medicine and I hope the content of these episodes can inform and inspire you to live a meaningful, connected and wellthy life.”
https://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/The-Key-Book-Mockup-Cover.jpg12791920Romi Grossberghttp://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Romi-Logo-Web.svgRomi Grossberg2019-08-24 13:05:242021-09-06 09:41:13Social Emotional Tools for Teens – Podcast interview on Wellthy Living, Australia.
This week I presented at The 7th Annual Cultures of Thinking Conference facilitating a 90-minute workshop. Each workshop was capped at 30 people and I was thrilled to have a full room of teachers and educators from various schools in my presence. I held an interactive workshop to allow the room of educators to feel what it is like on the receiving end as well as to show how teachable these topics are. We brainstormed together the themes of ‘Success and Failure’ and ‘Tone of Voice’ – two topics from my latest book THE KEY, A SOcial Emotional Toolkit for Teens.
The group was up and moving around the room writing and sharing their thoughts on how they define success, naming something they felt they had succeeded in, how they define failure and naming something they felt they failed at. This produced great discussion. Teenagers are always setting themselves up for failure rather than success. How many times have we heard a teen walk in to (or out of) an exam and say “I’m going to fail?” But what does failure to them actually mean? Below 90%? Below 50%? Who are they comparing themselves to and why? What role do teachers, friends and parents play? How does this affect their self esteem? Their levels of fear or anxiety? What can we as educators do about fear, anxiety, breathing, calming down, self esteem, comparisons, judgements, jealousy? It raises so many questions.
In my opinion we can do something about ALL of these things. We can educate our teens in these topics by giving them real, practical and tangible coping strategies to handle their emotions and feelings. In my latest book THE KEY, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens there are tips, tools and strategies for all of these things and together we went through a few.
The second half of the workshop was focused on our tone of voice. Recognising the tone of voice we use when we talk to other people – seeing our role in escalating or calming situations and the impact our tone has. Role playing was both fun (and possibly daunting for those involved) in seeing the different scenarios get played out across the room. Our tone of voice also impacts the way WE feel. Our tone, our body language and our choice of words (positive or negative) together effect the way we feel in our day to day and effect the way we feel about ourselves. Recognising that often these are choices we make and we can choose differently greatly helps our ability to help ourselves. I showed a video from THE KEY course on Tone of Voice – to show the practical application.
Each tricky topic from the book has a video to explain – what is it, how do we feel/sense it, what can we do for ourselves in real life and when do we need outside help.
The feedback from the group was positive and I hope that everyone enjoyed my workshop as much as I enjoyed teaching it.
The next day I was approached by Lisa Entwisle from Wellthy Living Radio Show Podcast for an interview on my work.
I will be presenting at the Cultures of Thinking conference on Monday 19th August in Melbourne. At 1.50pm I will run a 90-minute workshop from my latest book THE KEY, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens to teachers and educators from all around Australia and the world. I have chosen two main topics from my book and in this workshop I plan to break down the theme of ‘success and failure’ and ‘tone of voice’ (with ourselves and with others). My aim is two-fold, to have the group experience learning, brainstorming, collaborating and sharing their thoughts, fears and ideas on these topics as well as have them realise that the topics are easily teachable to teenagers in their own class settings.
What an amazing experience to be invited as a guest speaker to the inaugural Federal Writers Festival amongst so many known published authors from around Australia, Asia, the Pacific, Canada and the U.S.
The opening speaker was Kerry O’Brien with his latest memoir. He is one of Australia’s most respected journalists, having been awarded six Walkley Awards during his career.
On stage I was able to talk about the different aspects of my life and my writing. I had free range to talk about my first book ‘The 5-Minute Guide to Emotional Intelligence’ (and then sold 10 copies), about my latest book ‘The Key’ on emotional intelligence for teenagers and my memoir ‘Hip Hop & Hope’ that I had just finished writing and handed over to my editor Laurel Cohn who was in the audience.
What a fantastic festival. The hall was packed, the people were friendly and interested and the ‘in betweens’ and ‘afters’ full of delicious food and wine. Thank you to Philip McLaren for the foresight to put this together in such a gorgeous location up in the hills.
https://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/5c363e_19edd3a34e974cb681c649c4bbea7d7dmv2_d_3024_2016_s_2.jpg225328Romi Grossberghttp://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Romi-Logo-Web.svgRomi Grossberg2018-12-21 20:44:082019-05-09 08:44:04Federal Writers’ Festival, Australia
Teaching TEENAGERS about EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE is no easy task, but I was up for the challenge.
My latest book THE KEY became the workbook in my curriculum that I recently taught to grade 7 (12-13 year-olds) at Bialik College in Melbourne, the top academic school in the State.
But academia doesn’t factor when talking about emotions, as the Head of Middle School discovered when he attended one of my classes to find that it wasn’t the usual ‘smart kids’ putting their hands up, but everyone else also.
One-hour weekly classes, over a ten-week period, teaching roughly 75 students in total.
We truly started from the beginning:
“Does anyone know what emotional intelligence is?”
The response was 100% “no”.
As with every topic, they were asked to write down what they thought it might mean before bringing it in for a group discussion.
A large range of topics were covered using the tools of writing therapy, discussion, youtube, some activities, and journaling homework.
This course was about discovering your identity and thinking for yourself. There was no right or wrong, nothing was being marked or graded, this was about YOU, your thoughts, feelings, questions and concerns. Who are you? All big topics but when broken down in to smaller topics, it all can just make sense.
It is impossible to wrap up the course in one piece of writing so I will share with you some student feedback given to me on a few of the topics covered.
“I can be myself. I don’t need to hide anything”
“I thought I couldn’t do it (a task) but then I changed my thought pattern in to a positive one and I did it”
“I started being more honest with my friends and they were honest to me and we made a stronger friendship”
ON SUCCESS AND FAILURE:
“I used to think I constantly failed but it really depends on how you define things”
“Instead of saying ‘no’ to someone, I helped them with what they needed. It made me feel like a better person and a helpful person”
JEALOUSY AND ENVY:
“I watched something and I didn’t feel jealous and it felt really good”
“I did better in a test because I took deep breaths first and felt much more calm”
TONE OF VOICE:
“I stopped a fight from happening by changing the tone in my voice”
“I apologised to someone and I meant it for the first time ever”
“When walking down the street, I saw a homeless guy so I went to Coles and bought him a loaf of bread and vegemite”
TONE OF VOICE:
“I have used a different tone of voice with my siblings this week and we have had less arguments and a much better relationship”
NEGATIVE THOUGHT PATTERNS:
“I was disappointed with myself and used the 4-step process to feel better”
JEALOUSY AND ENVY:
“I got a mark on a test and my friend got higher and I was fine instead of jealous”
TONE OF VOICE:
“I now get in to less fights with my family with understanding my tone of voice”
“That my parents divorce was not my fault”
A few other topics covered: Choices, Unconditional Love, Comparisons, Happiness, Sadness and Depression.
To get this curriculum in to EVERY school. Any suggestions, advice, partnerships welcome.
https://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/5c363e_c0da5cf78e364ab18109c29232a74c72mv2_d_2448_3264_s_4_2-1.jpg19201440Romi Grossberghttp://www.romigrossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Romi-Logo-Web.svgRomi Grossberg2017-08-17 00:53:422020-06-28 10:56:14THE KEY: Hear what the students had to say
This training provides participants with a step-by-step guide to greater self-awareness and self-enquiry, how to self-soothe and create personalised self-care practices. Participants will gain knowledge in identifying, understanding and learning useful strategies for depression and anxiety.
Mental Health for Educators (for adolescents 12+)
Psychosocial development of adolescence · Adolescent identity · What is important to ‘them’ v what is important to ‘you’ · Understanding mental health · Anxiety and Depression – What to look for, what you can do and when to get help · Understanding friendships from their perspective · Language (choice of words), tone and body language.
This workshop is designed for educators to feel better prepared to handle the increase in mental health issues of their students, learn strategies and gain confidence to assist. Educators will gain the tools to increase their professional capabilities by understanding the psychosocial development of their adolescent students.
Bespoke training from The Key, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens, the content can be customised dependant on the students’ needs as identified by the teachers or school. Topic are listed in the training below.
Introduction to Emotional Intelligence · Values · Empathy · Identity – Different versions of Self · Communication skills / Tone of Voice · Choices · Breath/Meditations · Anxiety · Success & Failure · Unconditional self-love · Negative Thoughts · Creating Positive Affirmations · Understanding Sadness v Happiness · Depression · What is friendship? · What kind of friend are you? · Jealousy & Envy · Bullies / Bully Check-in · Acts of kindness · Apologies · Compliments · What is family? · Resolving arguments · My home · Divorce · 5 Stages of grief/loss.
The Key, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens is a guidebook for teenagers, teachers, educators, parents and a resource for school counsellors. It offers step-by-step guidance, activities, writing and videos. It can be taught in the classroom as a 12-week program or particular topics chosen on a needs basis. This workshop will guide teachers through how to approach the various topics, some tricky discussions and the activities of The Key.
Communication techniques · Tone of voice · Body language · Conflict resolution· Empathy.
Communication is 7% verbal, 38% tone and 55% body language. On the phone and online communication is 18% verbal and 82% tone.
This training provides a framework in which to understand the fundamentals of communication and learn effective tools to enhance your personal and professional capabilities.
Understanding self-care · Useful stress v. harmful stress · Creating work-life balance · Resilience · Empathy · How to switch off · Meditation made easy · Things you can do today.
A solution-focused training on the essentials of self-care practice. Participants will leave with a range of practical and realistic step-by-step skills for professional and personal daily life.
Complete this form to get the conversation started.