EQ Institute Home Page - several related files eqexer, activs, pgexer1
Personal Growth Exercises
I am starting to put some of my exercises for use in workshops and training sessions online. More will be added in the future. Right now here is what I have online:
identifying unmet emotional needs
Values and beliefs profile
Talking about feelings:
When I was x I was called y or I was told z
Identifying Feelings - Part 1
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/school I often feel
At the end of the day I often feel
While I am at work/school I often feel
With my boss I feel
With my teacher ______ 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
For teachers, parents, managers
When my students/children/employees don't meet my expectations I feel
When my students/children/employees disobey me I feel
When my students/children/employees interrupt me I feel
For Adults and/or Teens
With my spouse or partner I feel
With my children I feel
Around my parents I feel
Around my family I feel
Around my relatives I feel
When I think of my children I feel
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 future 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
A few more exercises on talking about feelings:
Exercise 1 -- Have people select a feeling word (either from a list or from a hat of slips of paper) and then talk about what that feeling means to them.
Exercise 2 -- Give them a short list of some key feelings and have them talk about each one. Here are a few ideas. Have them talk about a time they felt:
encouraged, discouraged understood, misunderstood rejected, accepted controlled-- trapped -- free over-protected-- underestimated
Exercise 3 -- Have three people sit together. Have one tell a story about something upsetting. Have the other person listen, asking questions, and then have the 3rd person stay silent but write down all the feelings which are being expressed (probably indirectly).
Have people list some of the negative feelings which they regularly experience. Then have them complete the following sentence:
When I am feeling _______ I can ________
For children, it might help to make the analogy of a rainy day. Tell them to think of things they can do on a rainy day by saying to themselves:
When it is rainy, I can _________.
Go through another list of negative feelings (either provided by you or the participants) and use the following general model.
When I feel ______ I need more _____.
When I am feeling uninspired, I need more inspiration.
When I am feeling resentful, I need more appreciation (towards that which you resent)
When I am feeling victimized, I need to take more responsibility.
When I am feeling out of powerless and out of control, I need to feel more powerful and in control.
When I am feeling impatient, I need to feel more patient.
Think of a time when you were upset. Try to put yourself back into the moment and re-live it. Then ask yourself,
"How do I feel?" and list your feelings.
"What would help me feel better-- that I can control?"
These are the HDIF and WWHMFB questions, which can also be used to help someone else by changing them to "How do you feel" - HDYF and "What would help you feel better?" WWHYFB?
Identiying Unmet Emotional Needs
Fill in the blanks to the sentence below as many times as you can.
When I am feeling ______ I have an unmet need for _______.
Example: When I am feeling lonely, I have an unmet need for connection.
Complete this sentence as many times as you can:
All my life I have had an unmet need for _______.
Values & Beliefs Profile
(for groups of 2-3 people)
Asking about what causes negative emotions can provide much information about someone's values, beliefs, and needs. By asking questions we increase our understanding. Increased understanding leads to compassion, empathy and a sense of connection with others.
In this exercise get into groups of two or three. Ask someone to tell you about something in their life which they felt strongly about. Listen for feelings, values and beliefs. Make notes using the form below and then report back to the class.
Focus on the feelings and the causes of them, not the details of the story. Try to get to the underlying thoughts, beliefs and attitudes below the emotions. While listening, remember not to give advice, or to try to solve the person's problem or to use phrases such as:
you need to, you have to, you ought to, you better, you should, you should have, you shouldn't, you shouldn't have if I were you, why don't you, why didn't you, what on earth were you thinking, what's the matter with you!?
After listening to the story, give a summary to
the class without telling what happened. Instead, report how the
person felt and why they felt that way, in terms of their
beliefs, values, and needs at that moment.
1. How did this person feel?
(Note: Use "feeling words" from the list, not long
descriptions of events and the situation). Try to name at least 5
2. What does the person value?
3. What needs were violated or
4. What are some of the person's
When I was x I was called y, or I was told z.
For example, when I was persistent, I was called stubborn
When I was proud, I was told I shouldn't let my head get too big.
|When I was:||I was called (or I was told)|
1. Complete the following senstences with several endings of your own choice. These are just a few sample feelings. Add your own to the list. Possible endings are: My mother would, my father would, my brother would, my sister would, my family would, my teachers would.....
When I was feeling
2. Substitute the x with all the above feeling words to make more sentences.
I felt x when
Example: I felt hurt when my brother would call me names.
(This is from the old activ2.htm file)
Values & Beliefs Exercise for getting to know and introduce someone else.
Asking about what causes negative emotions can provide much information about someone's values, beliefs, needs, attitudes, self-image and unmet emotional needs (UEN's). By asking and listening about an event which provoked strong emotions in someone, try to answer the questions below. Then you will report back to the class if it is okay with the person you are interviewing.
Focus on the feelings and the causes of them, not the details of the story. Try to get to the underlying thoughts below the emotions. While listening, remember not to give advice, or to try to solve the person's problem or to use phrases such as:
you need to, you have to, you ought to, you better, if I were you, why don't you, why didn't you, what on earth were you thinking, what's the matter with you!?
When you report the story back to the class, see if you can tell it without saying what happened! Instead, report how the person felt and why they felt that way (in terms of their beliefs, values, self-image, and unmet emotional needs at the time)
What does the person value?
What needs were violated or not met?
What are some of the person's beliefs?
Values Exercise 1
Read the section on values, then select ten or so and do this exercise with them on:
Circle your stated values vs your actual vs as perceived by others.
Your parents vs. what they practice as you observe it.
What do you think are the relationships between these word pairs?
Self awareness - Knowledge
Personal growth - Self awareness
Knowledge - Personal growth
Self-esteem - Personal growth
Values - Emotions
Resentment - Responsibility
Depression - Anger
Disappointment - Disillusionment
Disappointment - Reality
Negative Emotions - Health
Negative Emotions - Survival
Truth - Defensiveness
Insecurity - Defensiveness; Beliefs; Happiness; Obsession/Compulsion Your Beliefs
Who should do what??
Employees should ...
Little boys should
Little girls should
The government should
What are the feelings that lead to high self-esteem?
What are the feelings that lead to violence?
What are the feelings that lead a teenager to suicide? (Smoke, use drugs, dress wildly, wear earings, get tatoos, dye hair, swear, lie)
What are some feelings which might lead to stress and "burn-out?"
Are some kids smarter than others by birth? More musically talented? More mathmatically capable? More sensitive? More emotionally intelligent?
Are girls more sensitive than boys by birth?
Are some boys more sensitive than some girls?
Are we by nature: competitive, cooperative, sinners, good, evil?
How do you define these words: Moral, immoral, respect, good, bad, right wrong
What happens when we die?
Managing your negative emotions
What are some ways that have worked for you in handling: