Posted at 12:35 p.m., March 25, 2015

Don't just survive, thrive with workshops
at the Laramie County Library

Emotions make us human, but learning to accept and manage our emotions may help create a more balanced life, said a workshop leader for the Stop Suicide Cheyenne coalition.

Jeff Randall presented the Feb. 19 “Own your Emotions” workshop at the Laramie County Library to approximately 35 people trying to educate themselves about emotions to help themselves and those in their lives. The workshop was the first of six to be a part of the “From just Surviving to Thriving!” series created by the coalition.

“People who regulate their emotions well can get a lot accomplished. We don’t want to deny them though,” Randall said. It takes “emotional intelligence” to regulate emotions in a productive way. Randall defined emotional intelligence as the ability to monitor one's own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

The No. 1 recommendation Randall gave to improve a person’s emotional intelligence was to acknowledge emotions. If a person lets his emotions run him, he seems out-of-control, Randall said. However, he added, the emotions cannot be denied as they are part of the human experience.

“If we blame our emotions for what we do, we become victim to them. We can change emotions through changing how we think,” Randall said, explaining how intellect must come before emotions and a person must understand and analyze his thoughts before acting. This also involves analyzing the emotions of the people around us, Randall said.

“A lot of the pain that we are dealing with is really only thoughts,” Randall said. “They are nothing more than words.”

This does not mean we need to deny our thoughts. Randall suggested the best method to comfort a depressed person is to ask him his thoughts and accept them. Do not tell a person the thoughts are wrong, he said, but tell him it will be OK despite what he is thinking. “A lot of what we worry about never happens,” he added. “We work ourselves up over nothing.”

Riding the emotional bike

Randall uses motorcycle riding as his therapy, and many of the skills used in motorcycle riding translate through to emotional intelligence. Randall favors the pneumonic SEE; a motorcyclist and emotionally intelligent person must always “Search, Evaluate and Execute.” This means a person must recognize what is coming toward him, decide on a plan of action that will benefit him and execute that plan.

“I only have three actions on my bike: stop/slow down, speed up or swerve. I have to decide what I am going to do in each encounter,” Randall said. “What’s your evasive action plan?”

This comes in handy especially if we are a support system for someone else, Randall said. Are we a part of someone else’s plan? Do we know our part in the plan? Randall explained having a SEE plan in case of a trigger such as a recovering alcoholic passing his favorite bar could mean the difference between continuing on the path to recovery or a relapse. In the case of someone who is suicidal, having a SEE plan could mean the difference between life and death.

Randall is pursuing a master’s in licensed clinical social work at the University of Wyoming and works as an intern for Veterans Affairs in Cheyenne. He has spoken multiple times for the Stop Suicide Cheyenne coalition. 

The Stop Suicide Cheyenne coalition is a group made up of Peak Wellness Health Center, Grace for Two Brothers, the Wyoming Department of Health and volunteers. The coalition is designed to help those who are considering suicide and those who have experienced suicide in their life. Visit for more information on the group.

From just surviving to thriving

Six more free workshops are available in 2015 at the Laramie County Library from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Challenge your perspective about beauty, food, trends and your body. All ages are welcome to attend, but teens are encouraged to join the discussion. Presented by Candise Leininger, LPC. Sunflower Room, third floor.