Viktoria Shimanskaya’s Emotional Compass

Viktoria Shimanskaya’s Emotional Compass

How to help children make friends with their emotions, how to inherently accept your child, why success and happiness aren’t synonyms, and when the world becomes better 

Women’s emotions are more flexible if compared to men’s. From an early childhood, every girl learns compassion, responsiveness, and understanding. Viktoria Shimanskaya, author of the first Russian patented methodology of the development of the emotional environment of children and parents, believes that an emotionally sound child is more likely to become a successful diplomat or a businessperson, a loving spouse and a happy parent. 

According to Ms. Shimanskaya, the ability to properly identify your emotions, feelings, and worries and being able to pronounce them to put them under control is the key to success in career and family life. Children who did not manage to accept themselves and their emotions grow worry-filled. Their fear of emotions can result in psychological complexes and the feeling of guilt. This makes it hard for them to communicate with children of the same age and they feel lonely and misunderstood even with loving parents. At the same time, children with properly developed emotional intelligence (EQ) easier contact with people, address problems, and resolve conflicts because they believe in themselves. That is why it is extremely important to develop EQ from an early childhood. 

Happiness as the Key to Achieving Success 

A couple of years back, few people in Russia knew about EQ. Today everybody recognises that understanding your own emotions, goals, and wishes as well as those of other people is a necessary skill for effective and harmonious interaction with people around and the world. After one learns to listen to oneself, one starts taking steps towards development and the life changes for the better. Then a person is ready to move forward despite all challenges and thus becomes happy and successful. In fact, success and happiness are not the same thing. Success must be a right continuation of happiness. The other thing is that happiness is a relative concept: some people are happy when they are financially successful, others are happy when they grow spiritually… 

“What is important is not what we teach our children but what role models we give. The most important example we can give is being able to be happy” 

What Skills Do We Need? 

Viktoria Shimanskaya and her team have worked out an interactive methodological test for schoolchildren. Thanks to it, one can check one’s skills and build a profile of ones talents and skills, which is called a ‘skillfolio’. According to Ms. Shimanskaya, modern people need flexible skills: presenting a project, working in team, resolving conflicts, controlling one’s own emotions as well as understanding and assessing those of other people. One should start mastering those skills with the attitude towards oneself and answering the following questions: do I really want to do it; what is my power; is it what I need now? 

Another question to answer is what can one do for the world with one’s talent? Some people are good at drawing, other are good programmers, some communicate with children well. As stated by Viktoria Shimanskaya, if you concern your strengths when developing yourself, you will benefit the world. 

Boundaries between people are not quite real. All people have invisible links. There was research conducted by neurophysiologists. A person’s finger was stuck with a needle. Brains of people who were there too gave them two kinds of signals: ‘somebody was stuck with a needle’ or ‘nothing happened’. When one-handed people experiencing phantom limb pain were tested, they got the first signal as if they were stuck with a needle themselves. 

When we share our happiness, when we empathize, when the whole country supports its football team during the World Cup football match, we have the same links. 

Making Friends With Emotions 

“If I develop myself, I extend my boundaries in the positive meaning. I don’t pay much attention to bad weather, wrong people around or thinking whether I was parented properly. My emotional state starts playing the central stage and I focus on what I think and what I say. 

Developing emotional intelligence or professional intelligence a person understands that he or she can influence other people’s emotions. 

This is the expansion of influence on the world. Every minute we experience something and often don’t understand what to do with our emotions. This is difficult even for an adult, not only for children. That is why it is important to teach children to deal with their emotions, not to run away from them but to make friends with them”, said Ms. Shimanskaya. 

Facing Fear 

The feeling of fear is the signal that you face something new. Then follows the stage of understanding. You realise that you fear because something is dangerous and you need to take a step back. Understanding this fear, you are grateful to it that it saved you. Sometimes you have the fear of failing your exam because it requires more effort and knowledge. You must be ready to find them to take a step forward. The best way to overcome fear is not to run away but to pass through it. 

Skillfolio methodology by Viktoria Shimanskaya is the result of her long path. First, she obtained a diploma in psychology at Saint Petersburg State University, after that she received business education at Skolkovo, and then worked as a teacher. A conclusion made by her is that emotional intelligence can’t exist separately from thinking. Skillfolio helps people build a digital profile with their talents and competences, understand their strengths, and work out individual development trajectories for any person. 

“It is important for parents to remember that success isn’t always an equivalent to happiness. Everything that one ‘must’ but ‘doesn’t want’ to do affects health. By the moment of finishing school, 82% of schoolchildren want to get good grades and only 36% of schoolchildren enjoy their studies. This is the main tragedy in education.” 

Unhappy 'A' Grade Schoolchildren 

According to Ms. Shimanskaya, her deep immersion into emotional psychology involved not only trainings, consulting, and coaching, but also giving birth to two children. The moment when her elder son was entering school changed everything. She understood that her son makes his best but still doesn’t feel happy during his studies. What is the point of being at pains to do something without pleasure? In addition, it is a fact that less than 30% of Russia’s elementary school students are healthy. 

That is why education of teachers and introduction of social and emotional learning became the social mission of Viktoria Shimanskaya. In fact, social and emotional learning programmes have become a global trend. Unfortunately, this field is poorly promoted in Russia so far. The introduction of social and emotional learning principles into the programmes of school subjects, for example, physics or mathematics, would make them much more interesting and would help children understand why they study. With such an approach, children study with genuine interest and master difficult subjects easier. 

“Our children absorb everything through their experience and role models provided by their parents. By setting a goal to develop your child’s emotional intelligence you will develop it in yourself as well.” 

Studying Without Danger 

As observed by Viktoria Shimanskaya, more than 50% of school students in first grades remember about five names of their classmates during first six months of studies. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, knowledge needs can be met only after the following needs: physiological, safety, social belonging, and esteem. The task of a teacher is to create a necessary environment to inspire children’s desire of learning. That must include safe environment and children’s understanding of who all those people around are and what they want from them. 

As soon as children get to know one another better, they exit their ‘state of defense’, become open to studying and understand the learning material easier. 

Then follow the teacher’s skills of working with content, which include visualization, mind mapping, giving information in an easily digestible forms (logical structures and associative schemes), and different approaches to explaining if children don’t understand the material. 

Over four years, Viktoria Shimanskaya managed to single out the quintessence of this knowledge and combine a school training course. Together with her colleagues and the Ministry of Education, Ms. Shimanskaya is working on its introduction into school programmes. In fact, this is fully in line with the May presidential decree on advanced training of education workers, introduction of new practices and methodologies to involve in education course, and self-determination of adolescents. With parents’ and teachers’ support, this will help children take a step into the future. 

Hearing Yourself 

Viktoria Shimanskaya suggests making an exercise that will help residents of megapolises deal with stress and refocus their attention. According to her, this exercise will take less than a minute per day but at the same time is the key to emotional intelligence development. 

One needs go outdoors and focus on watching, paying attention to the outlines of buildings, the play of colours in the sky, and other details. Then concentrate on listening: birdsongs, signals of cars, a knock on the door, etc. After doing that start feeling with your body. Straighten your shoulders, feel the wind, inhale the smells of the city or the aromas of coffee… You calm down and have a greater sense of focus, the world around seems better. We enter this state through our emotions. Now, synchronized with the world, we can really listen to and hear ourselves. 

Tina Stankevich, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov