Expressing feelings

1 hour

Create a safe and positive learning environment by agreeing ground rules for the session.

Download the session Expressing Feelings 

In this session we will learn:

  • to recognise that our feelings are individual and unique

  • to understand that some feelings are harder to cope with than others

  • that talking about feelings can help

  • how expressing your feelings can help you manage them

 

Resources

 

Activity

  1. Hand out the feeling cards so that each student has at least one. Either work as a whole class or in small groups. Ask each student to take turns to position the cards on a line across the floor or wall, in order from the most difficult feeling to the most positive feeling.
  2. Discuss: Does everyone agree? There are no right or wrong answers. Encourage some debate. We all experience our feelings in different ways. Ask the students why we are doing this exercise. How can it help us? For example, to help us know what words to use to let someone know how we are feeling.
  3. Remind the class that we all feel differently about different problems and that is why we need a vocabulary to explain how we are feeling about something, not just what the problem is.
  4. Ask students to stand in the middle of the classroom. One side of the classroom becomes scale ten, the other side zero. Alternatively use the emoticon sheet for students to point to the feeling they would have.
  5. Read out challenges one at a time and ask students to stand where they would consider themselves on the scale in terms of this being a big challenge for them or not. Be sensitive to any issues for students. Ask volunteers to say why they have chosen to stand in a certain place. Note that everyone is standing in a different place. After a few challenges, ask students what they have noticed. For example, that we all feel differently about different challenges and that there is more than one factor that affects where we stand. What are these? Ask students for ideas. What might affect how we feel about a challenge?

Make sure young people know what support is available and how to access this support.

Ask students to individually rate themselves on the scale from one to ten for each challenge depending on how big a challenge it seems to them. Ask them to then share in pairs then in groups of four. The students then feed back – what did they notice? Were they all different? Note that everyone has rated the challenge differently. After a few challenges, ask students what they have noticed. For example, that we all feel differently about different challenges, and that there is more than one factor that affects where we stand. What are these? Ask students for ideas. Which challenges do they think would be hardest to talk about, and why?

Optional activity: Divide the class into five groups and give each group one of the sad, happy, angry, scared, or worried cards. Ask the groups to come up with as many ways to describe different feelings as they can e.g. drawing, words, colour, pattern. Ask each group to share some ideas.

Feelings are different for all of us. It helps to use words to describe how intensely we are experiencing them. Some feelings are easier to describe and talk about than others.

 

Reflection

Do I feel able to express how I feel? How could this help me?

 

Links and Learning Journeys

This session links to: Let it out | What is emotional health? | Talking helps | Overcoming barriers | Developing listening skills | Who are Samaritans? | Self-harm myths and facts | Coping with changes | My support network

It is also part of 2 suggested learning journeys:

Learning journey: building resilience: Ups and downs of the day | Expressing feelings | Managing stress making choices | Building resilience | Talking helps | Being positive

Learning journey: my emotional health: Ups and downs of the day | Talking about depression | Expressing feelings (short) | Talking helps: it’s hard to say (short) | Finding a way forward | Positive thinking | Who are Samaritans?

Make sure young people know what support is available and how to access this support.