The Peace Corner: An Essential Space

17 September, 2020
Do you know about the peace corner? This is a space that's meant for learning about yourself, reflecting about who you are, and recovering your emotional balance after an overwhelming event.

The peace corner is a space available to everybody that’s meant for learning and developing emotional maturity. Both children and adults experience frustrating situations and emotional ups and downs that test their ability to regulate their feelings. If an individual is incapable to deal with stressful events in an appropriate way, it’s likely that they’ll adopt maladaptive behaviors (uncontrolled or too inhibited). This corner is a valuable tool to find peace in those moments.

Emotional self-regulation is a skill that you acquire as you grow but that requires constant learning. In this article, we’ll be talking about building and using a peace corner the right way, as well as the great benefits it can bring on an emotional level.

The peace corner: what is it exactly?

The peace corner is a personal space for introspection. It’s commonly used in child psychology. However, nowadays, more and more adults continue to incorporate it into their homes.

Furthermore, emotional regulation is the ability to take control of one’s behaviors (both mental and factual). Doing this is possible thanks to the fact that all individuals have means and tools to influence their emotions. After all, everyone’s free to do as they please, and if they don’t want to pay attention to their emotions, they may as well do so. A lack of emotional regulation manifests through sudden mood swings, anger outbursts, and difficulties in controlling emotional states.

In children, it’s quite common for these difficulties to manifest themselves through frequent and intense tantrums, as well as a low tolerance for frustration. These tantrums are part of the normal stages of childhood development, which tend to stabilize after age four, when the prefrontal cortex is a bit more developed.

Emotional regulation involves recognizing one’s own emotions and the events that may have caused them to act up. The peace corner provides is a space that facilitates this emotional reflection thanks to its quiet, calm, and safe environment.

A woman practicing emotional self-regulation during sunset.

Ways to build the peace corner

There are many possibilities to build this space. In fact, the only requirement is that it has elements that provide peace to the person or people who use it. Here are some ideas:

  • Choose a fixed space for this place, such as a makeshift tent, for example.
  • If children will be using it, it’s important to put visible and clear instructions on its use.
  • Introduce elements that make the place cozy, such as cushions, blankets, paintings, or drawings of quiet landscapes, among others.
  • Collect materials to make sure the person using the peace corner feels comfortable and at home. You can add mandalas to color, anti-stress balls to practice progressive relaxation, a balloon to breathe, and a speaker to play music. Be creative and think of the people who will make use of it.
  • In the case of children, you can add elements that will help ease anger during tantrums, such as newspapers to break up and drawing materials to represent “the monster of anger”, etc.

The peace corner: how to use it

We must state something of extreme importance. In order to make good use of the peace corner, it’s essential that it’s presented appropriately and that the rules are clearly explained.

You may announce when it’s beneficial to use the peace corner at the time of its inauguration of this space. In the same way, it’s important to highlight the fact that this isn’t a place that implies any obligation or restriction of use. If you don’t do it this way, instead of being a calm place, others may see it as a punishment, as in the behavioral technique of “time out“.

Individuals may use the peace corner when they need to:

  • Manage intense emotions such as anger in order to return to a balanced state.
  • Avoid hurting themselves or others.
  • Find a resolution to a conflict.
  • Be alone.
  • Express their sadness or other emotions in a private manner.
  • Be in a private space with another person.
  • Meditate.
  • Rest.
A child meditating.

A haven to regulate emotions

The peace corner is a refuge for emotions that both adults and children can use. It’s an easy to build space that’s based on establishing a positive relationship with yourself, as opposed to using it as a space for punishment.

Emotional regulation is a superior skill that individuals acquire during their first years of age but that constantly needs to be relearned to achieve greater self-knowledge. Without this regulation, people are left at the mercy of their emotions, which undoubtedly leads to a lack of balance within themselves.

This space isn’t meant for repressing emotions. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. People may use the peace corner to identify their feelings, work with them, and then try to go back to an initial state. Thus, it helps to avoid suffering from an emotional overflow that can lead to impulsivity.

In brief, this physical refuge is a symbolic element for the connection with your internal reflection. In all honesty, the real peace corner is inside you. You just need to find it.