The Stoplight Approach exists to foster environments that connect people, create caring communities, and a give hope for a kinder world. Before we can make that future a reality, we need to first understand how the human brain works and how this understanding can impact our own lives and those around us. It’s as simple as ABCDE!

Transformed World

A - Awareness (Emotional Literacy)

Be aware of your emotional state and that of others.

The brain is the control centre of the human body and it consists of three main components.

Red Brain
Yellow Brain
Green Brain

Red Brain

  • Scared, very sad, in danger

  • Fight, Flight, or Freeze

  • Only using 50% of IQ

  • Feeling unsafe

yellow brain

  • Tired, worried, disconnected, stressed

  • Only using 75% of IQ

  • Feeling unloved

green brain

  • Happy, safe, content, curious

  • Using 100% of IQ

  • Ready to learn

Red Brain & Yellow Brain help us protect ourselves in survival situations, but being in them for too long is damaging for us. Green Brain is the goal, for ourselves and those around us for healthy, longterm growth and human flourishing.


B - Behaviour (Self-Regulation)

Get yourself and others back to Green.

We all wish we could live in Green Brain, but often things send us into Yellow or Red. We need to learn strategies that will help us get back to Green. Once in Green ourselves, we can begin to help others get to Green as well.

Red Brain
Yellow Brain
Green Brain


  • People in Red feel unsafe

  • Be calm and gentle while you help them to feel safe.


  • People in Yellow feel unloved

  • Show them that you value and accept them. Look for their unmet needs.


  • People in Green are ready to learn

  • Have fun, learn together, and try new things!


C - Connection (Empathy)

Practice empathy to connect with those around you.

Empathy means looking at a situation from another person’s perspective in order to understand how they feel. When we practice empathy we begin to understand the motivations behind a person’s actions. Practicing empathy allows us to build relationships with others.

When working with children, it is especially important to consider why they acted the way they did.

Punishment makes the child feel unsafe and unloved, sending them into Yellow or Red. In these brain states they will have a much harder time learning from you.


The Stoplight Approach allows us to become aware of the brain state of the child, help them get back into Green, and then use empathy to understand their actions. Once they are in Green, we can teach them how to do better next time.

Stoplight In Action

D - Decision (Moral Identity)

Decide each day what kind of person you want to be.

It is up to you:

What colour do you want to live in?

What colour do you want to put those around you in?

No one is perfect. We all slip into Yellow & Red and do things we are not proud of. The important part is that we get ourselves back to Green and repair the relationship.

Fix It

E - Engagement (Social Responsibility)

Actively seek to help others by meeting their needs.

Take action! Make the world a better place by looking for people in Yellow & Red and help them get back into Green.

Kinder World

Know it.

Review what you have learned.

Use it.

Learn to apply The Stoplight Approach to your own life.

Share it.

Spread the word. Help us continue changing lives.