see also eqexer, activs, pgexer1


EQ Workshop Exercises, Activities & Ideas

(replaces file edu_ex_1)


How I Feel

How I Felt

Managing Your Emotions

Emotional Profile - for groups of two or more.

Understanding your childhood


Exercise for teachers/parents on natural vs. fabricated consequences

Misc. Ideas


Identifying Feelings

How I Feel

How I Felt

How I Feel

(Individual or pairs)

Below are some sentence completion stems. They will help you develop your emotional literacy and become more emotionally aware. List several feelings for each one. Write down your answers quickly, using single-word feelings as often as possible. (Adapted from Nathaniel Branden)

When I am getting ready for work I often feel

At the end of the day I often feel

While I am at work I often feel

With my principal I feel

When my students don't meet my expectations I feel

When my students disobey me I feel

When my students interrupt me I feel

When the class starts to get out of control I feel

When the kids don't listen to me I feel

When I have a lesson plan to complete I feel

When I think about the possibility of not having a job I feel

Thinking that I am wiring the children's emotional brains, possible for the rest of their lives, I feel

Thinking that I can have a life-long effect on the children, either in a positive or a negative way, I feel

With my children I feel

Around my parents I feel

Around my relatives I feel

When around my family I fee

When I think of some mistakes I made I feel

When I think of what I have learned in my life I feel

When I think of my recent past I feel

When I think of the next few days I feel

When I think of the next few months I feel

When I think of the next few years I feel

With my spouse/partner I feel

When I alone I feel

When I get angry I feel

When driving I feel

How I Felt


In grade school I felt

In middle school I felt

In college I felt

With mother I felt

With father I felt

With my grandparents I felt


Understanding your childhood

Sentence completions

Mother was always...
Father was always...

Mother gave me a view of myself as... o
Father gave me a view of myself as...

With mother I felt.... (or feel...)
With father I felt...

Mother gave me a view of life as...

Father gave me a view of love as...


From the work of Nathaniel Branden

Managing Your Emotions


Part 1

What are some things that might help you feel better when you feel:
































Out of control

Part 2

Thinking about yoiur own choices helps give you a sense of power and control. This calms you in times of stress. As a result, you are more able to respond in an accepting, reasonable and positive way.

When I am feeling ___________, I can __________


When I am feeling ___________, I can __________


When I am feeling ___________, I can __________


When I am feeling ___________, I can __________


When I am feeling ___________, I can __________



When my need to feel ____________ is not being met, I can _____________.


When my need to feel ____________ is not being met, I can _____________.


When my need to feel ____________ is not being met, I can _____________.


When my need to feel ____________ is not being met, I can _____________.


When my need to feel ____________ is not being met, I can _____________.


When my need to feel ____________ is not being met, I can _____________.

Misc. Ideas

(These a few ideas which I jotted down as they came to me. They are aren't fully developed, but maybe they will be of some help.)

Ice breakers - let each person talk for 2-3 minutes about a time they felt appreciated, unappreciated, resentful, ignored, powerless, etc. Possibly write a list of twenty feelings and let them pick one. Possibly break them into groups if time is a concern.

See how many feeling words a group can come up with in 2 minutes.

Talking about our feelings 1) helps us feel more relaxed 2) more understood 3) more connected

For workshop on EI, self-esteem: How do you feel when your self esteem is high? Low?

To connect with people on a deeper level talk about times you felt mocked, rejected, teased, labeled, judged, controlled, disapproved of, resentful, etc.

Listening exercise - Get in groups of 2 or three. Poor listening - have one person talk for 60 seconds, the others intentionally try to interrupt, "steal the scene" by talking about themselves, ignore the speaker or make judgmental comments or facial expressions.

Later, let the person talk for 3 minutes about something they feel strongly about. Don't say anything at all. Just nod head, make eye contact. Try to show agreement, understanding with facial expressions.

Discuss what makes a good listener, a bad listener. Discuss how you felt under each case.

Discuss theory of EQ listening - no invalidation, no advice or problem solving, trying to identify the emotions, trying to help the speaker identify his feelings ("sounds embarrasing," "that's frustrating.." "that's a bit scary" etc. "how did you feel about that?" "How did you feel when he said that"

Anger - is it healthy - Depends. If it is used to protect yes, if it is prolonged, no.

Exercise - example of anger as secondary feeling. Start to pressure someone into doing something. Increase the pressure till they get angry. Maybe use verbal/psychological pressure at first, then physical pressure. Pulling them for example.

Discuss difference in energy between feeling sad and feeling angry.

Exercise of respect - stand close to someone. Get too close. See what feels comfortable to different people to show how people have different personal boundaries, how each of us is unique. Also, an exercise to help people practice setting their boundaries, by saying when they feel uncomfortable. A little, or a lot etc. as the person gets closer.

Have people explain why they feel respected by their partners, parents, teachers, students, bosses, co-workers, employees etc.

Importance of emotions - ask kids (or adults) why we have emotions, how they help us. (this is a question I have never heard a teacher ask!)

Example - why do we feel bad when someone dies or moves away? (Has to do with realizing what we value, what is important) Why are we afraid of things (because some things can hurt us, are unhealthy for us.)

Exercise - have people list as many feeling words as they can - individually first, then in small groups, then as class. Try to give examples from your personal life with one sentence. "I felt ignored when I stood by the counter at the post office for 2 minutes and no one even looked me in the eyes to acknowledge my presence."


Notes on designing a workshop for presenting my ideas to primary school and pre-school teachers


At the beginning reach some areas of agreement and common understanding, such as:


- Negative emotions are signs of unmet emotional needs. For example when we feel unappreciated we have an unmet emotional need to feel appreciated.

As an exercise have the group come up with ten or so negative emotions and the corresponding unmet emotional need.

- Some children are more emotionally expressive than others (There will probably be instant agreement on this)

- Some are more emotionally sensitive (This usually also is easily accepted.)

- Children have different emotional needs. For example, some have more need for sharing things, some have more need for privacy; some need more attention, etc.

Discuss how the children's needs vary.

- When they express a negative feeling they have some unmet emotional need

- if someone attends to them, acknowledges their feeling, validates it and takes action if necessary, the child's need to express their negative feeling disappears. But if the adult in charge ignores the child, invalidates him or her then it is possible that the child will attempt to express their need in a stronge way. Some children use more emotional expression and are often labeled as "dramatic." But these "dramatic" children are probably just children who are more emotionally sensitive and more emotionally expressive. If this genetic aspect of their personalities can be accepted and understood, it can be safely assumed there will be fewer needs for such children to act out their feelings.

Emotional Profile

Here are some sample exercises for getting to know someone on an emotional level. They can be used in sequence to move to deeper and deeper levels.

Option 1

Get into pairs. Take 3 minutes each to talk about something you feel strongly about.

Option 2

Ask each other to talk about a time they felt angry. Take notes on what happened. (5 minutes each)

Option 3

While in pairs, one option for introductions is to ask each person to describe themselves emotionally (open, guarded, defensive, responsible, blaming, irresponsible, sarcastic, bitter, judgmental, positive, negative, excited, happy, etc.) Then the other person can ask the person for examples. Then each person can introduce the other to the group.

Option 4

Ask about a time when the other felt each of these: sad, lonley, embarassed, pressured, loved, appreciated, disrespected, underestimated, disappointed, discouraged, bitter, guilty, unforgiven, judged

Or go through list of common negative feelings such as those found on\cnfs


Exercise for teachers/parents on natural vs. fabricated consequences

Example: Michael is making noise while facilitator (F) is talking.

Option 1: Michael, I feel a little distracted. Can you help me by not talking right now? Will you help me? Thanks.

Option 2: M, you seem to have a lot of energy, but I am afraid that everyone won't be able to hear. Can you help me....

Option 3: M, how are you feeling right now? What would help you feel better? ..... Thank you for sharing your feelings. Now, can I share with you what I am feeling? I am feeling...

Option 4: I am afraid people are having trouble hearing me. Is anyone having trouble hearing? Susie, you are? Susie would you please give Michael an I message?

Why this approach?

- because it helps Susie feel empowered.
- removes extra fear of teacher's huge power imbalance
- reduces negative feelings towards teacher
- helps michael understand natural consequences
- helps michael develop empathy

Typical fabricated consequence is to punish Michael by removing him from the group

Natural consequence:

Facilitator feels disrespected, distracted, interrupted, afraid. Other's feel distracted, frustrated, bc they can't hear. Possible future consequence is loss of friendship, empathy.

Other possible natural consequence: Lesson plan not completed, kids don't learn.

A natural consequence is simply what happens naturally if no adult interferes or intervenes. (See Life Skills 101 for Teachers, by Norma True Spurlock)

When teachers feel disrespected - how much is it their need to feel respected? How much is it truly disrespect on the child's part?

If no one else feels that way, then it is teacher's problem.

Takes longer, but pays off in long run!

Get the kids to help you. Most of the time they will. The more they respect you, the more they will care about your feelings & want to help you.

The more they dislike you, the more they will want to hurt you.

I feel disrespected - can you help me - I am very sensitive. Can you treat me with care?

teach kids to solve own problems - simple thing- I can't see- sorry. Very simple. I can't hear. Sorry. one time I was tapping my pencil on desk during econ exam...