Ellen Perkins believes in the power of feeling. Having experienced post trauma stress after a devastating marriage breakdown and then rising into a state of euphoria that lasted for more than a year, Ellen is very familiar with the extreme peaks and troughs of emotion.
“The incredible high I experienced after my post trauma stress”, she says, “is due to a phenomenon known as post trauma growth. It is a transformational experience that can occur in some people who experience adversity”. “It is a condition of joy and peace, along with heightened mental acuity. I spent a lot of time drawing diagrams to map human emotions, thoughts and behaviour processes. I felt as if a veil had lifted and I could see what was really going on”.
This heightened emotional awareness spurred Ellen into following her dream: helping parents and children gain mental health through a unique blend of positive psychology, Eastern philosophy and first-hand experience. As part of her mission Ellen identified a fun way to get people talking about feelings. “I saw a product on the market that was a flipbook of moods for adults to place on their desks. I loved it, but after using it at home with my three girls I quickly realised it was missing many common feelings kids experience. I decided to create a product for children that included a wide range of positive and negative feelings, so they could learn the names of feelings, express themselves in a fun way and raise their emotional intelligence at the same time”.
And that’s how Real Feels was born. Ellen spent many months researching which feelings to include and studying human facial expressions because she wanted her emojis to be life-like. Her hard work paid off and Real Feels is now making its mark on the Gold Coast, with boutique toy store Hurley Burley toys now stocking the product and schools and kindergartens around Brisbane and the Gold Coast placing orders. “Parents love it because it gives them an insight into how their child is feeling, and kids love it because it’s fun. It is a resource that should be in every school and home”.
“When we raise emotional intelligence, we experience a myriad of benefits. Kids who raise their EQ are empowered kids. They need less discipline, make healthier choices, have better relationships with their peers and even get better results in school", Ellen says. “We’re on the cusp of a new era of mental health education, and I’m thrilled to play a part in raising the healthiest and happiest generation of kids yet”.