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The Research:

Evidence Based Approach


The 5000 Days Project uses an evidence based development approach – the StoryQ method – to help increase emotional intelligence in students and improve overall wellbeing for Educators. Our findings on the benefits of private guided video journaling over the past 18 years have been reinforced by outside research from leading professionals in the educational, research and scientific communities.

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Why Emotional Intelligence?

It is our emotions that determine what we care about… and what we ultimately pay attention to, which means that learning starts there. In that way, the heart is the engine and the brain is the caboose. One reason our current education system is flawed is because it gets the relationship and priority backwards.
— Dr. John Medina, 5000 Days Project advisor, Behavioural Neuroscientist and author of BRAIN RULES

Watch a 5000 Days Project animation on the importance teaching emotional intelligence to kids.


Benefits of Digital Storytelling & Video Journaling

Digital storytelling offers researchers a novel medium to address visual processing systems within the research process. A research method that can facilitate a deeper level of self-expression and understanding within diverse areas of inquiry.

Digital Storytelling As a Method in Health Research: A Systematic Review Protocol

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Results indicate that Digital Storytelling holds promise for a broad range of issues including the treatment of trauma in children, adults and veterans; children with special needs; adolescent sexual health; self-harm and stress in adolescent girls (to address negative beliefs about oneself) through to stigma experienced by HIV positive youth and to increase intercultural awareness around the issue.

Supporting academic research by:

Anderson & Wallace 2015
Cohen, Johnson, & Orr, 2015
Hancox, 2012
Tuval- Maschlack & Patton, 2015
Botturi, Bramani, & Corbino, 2012
Gilliam et al., 2012
Goodman, 2012; Goodman & Newman, 2014
Willis et al., 2014
Ribeiro, 2016

…digital stories are used to encourage development of digital literacy, writing and language skills (Alismail, 2015) as well as storytelling ability, reflective skills and emotional intelligence (Ribeiro, 2016).

The Positive Impacts of Verbalizing on Mental Health

When you put feelings into words, you’re activating this prefrontal region and seeing a reduced response in the amygdala. In the same way you hit the brake when you’re driving when you see a yellow light, when you put feelings into words, you seem to be hitting the brakes on your emotional responses.

As a result, an individual may feel less angry or less sad. This is ancient wisdom. Putting our feelings into words helps us heal better. If a friend is sad and we can get them to talk about it, that probably will make them feel better.
— Brain Imaging Study, Professor Matthew D. Lieberman, UCLA Dept of Psychology

“Expressing the effects of a trauma through art, music and dance is not as effective as expressing the feelings through language. It seems that people need to express the negative experience in words—either through writing or speaking—to reap the health benefits.”

“Labeling emotions and acknowledging traumatic events — both natural outcomes of journaling — have a known positive effect on people.  This in turn improves our immune system and our moods; we go to work feeling refreshed, perform better and socialize more (Dr. Pennebaker).”

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The Process of Verbalizing

As soon as you ask a child to verbalize their emotion, the child accesses the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is the part they use for language and to process what’s happening. It takes them out of their amygdala, the lower region of their brain, which is responsible for those strong emotional reactions, and it helps them to calm down because it controls their impulses.
— Professor Lea Waters
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Evidence that children in touch with their feelings perform better academically

While once IQ was seen as the No.1 predictor of life success, many educators now believe EI (emotional intelligence) is equally, if not more, important.

If we foster EQ with our children when they are young, we are setting them up to communicate well, develop strong relationships, negotiate tricky situations, be leaders in their field and even earn more money. They will be more empathetic and compassionate to their friends, partners and own children, relate more easily to others and have a greater self-awareness.
— Social intelligence pioneer and author of Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ
Within a recent study of 287 Australian schools, the highest academic scores occurred when mental health promotion was included in a school’s priorities.
— Allen, Kern, Vella-Brodrick, & Waters, 2017

“Emotional preparedness was a major factor in determining whether a student had a successful freshman year or not.”

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How people feel more comfortable, safe and honest when expressing themselves to a piece of technology

Humans respond and converse with nonhuman agents in ways that mirror emotional and social discourse dynamics when discussing behavioral health and their capacity to act as first responders has already been evaluated…

The Case for EQ in Education

“As we look back on the history of education while rethinking its goals of today, it is clear that ‘education must be a source of empowerment for individuals . . . it must open their minds to potential for new and better ideas.’”

“Self-awareness develops around one’s life and the experiences one goes through. Therefore, society plays a significant role in one’s self-awareness development, and teachers, who spend many hours a day with their students, influence the development of their students’ self-awareness through the activities they conduct. Although teachers are trained to impart specific domains of knowledge, their influence extends far beyond that role. Just as every event in the students’ lives affects their self-awareness development, every comment, type of behavior, and activity teachers employ influences their students. How teachers ask questions, present information, and behave provides students with different views of the world and of themselves. The students’ awareness of themselves and of their environment develops as a result of their interactions with the environment, and, at school, awareness develops as a result of the interactions and experiences provided by teachers to their students.”

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