Draw a heart map representing all the different people and important elements of identity that provide you with love, strength and a strong sense of emotional support
What you’ll need: Paper, coloured pens and pencils
What’s it for?
Maps are used to help us find our way, particularly if we’re lost, or need to find the best way to get somewhere. In this activity, by drawing a heart map with those people and activities that nurture and support us, we will know how to find them when we’re feeling less confident, or faced with the challenges and worries of everyday life.
Notice how you’re feeling right now. Close your eyes and notice what’s going on inside your mind and body.
How are you feeling?
What are you thinking?
How does your body feel?
First of all make a list of all the important landmarks that will appear on your heart map. These are elements that make you feel loved, supported, strong, and nurtured. They might include:
Important people who care about you
Important aspects of your culture or heritage
Important aspects of your identity
Activities that make you feel validated
Your beliefs or spirituality
On a blank sheet of paper draw a big heart shape that fills up most of the page.
Inside your heart, find a way to represent all of your important landmarks. You might draw a picture of the person, or activity, or find some other way to represent it with a symbol. You might want to label everything in very small writing - like on an actual map!
Draw the connections between the different elements of your heart map. These would be like the roads or pathways on a regular map that show you how to get between places. Try to draw meaningful connections so if you do a particular activity with a particular person for example, make sure that they’re connected somehow. Give names to the roads and pathways that somehow reflect the relationship, for example:
Take a moment to think about your most supportive emotional experiences. These might be things like feeling:
Now make some parks or lakes or other landmarks and name them after the supportive emotional experiences, for example:
The Loving Lake
The Park of Gratitude
As a finishing touch, you might choose to draw or colour a background for your heart map .
Take a moment to look at your finished heart map and check that nothing else needs to be added.
When you need to feel loved, supported, and nurtured, look at your heart map (or remember it in your mind’s eye) to give yourself the boost and confidence to cope with the challenge.
Extra Activity: Show your heart map to an interested adult and discuss with them what elements might be on their version of a heart map. Are any the same as yours? Would the connections be the same?
When you’ve finished, spend a moment reflecting on the activity and ask yourself the following questions:
Was it easy or difficult to think of what to include in your heart map?
Are there any other connections between the landmarks that you’d like to cultivate?
Did you learn anything new about yourself while you did this activity?
How did it feel to think about the people and activities that you chose to put on your heart map?
In which situations do you think it would be helpful to think about your heart map?
This activity helps you to recognise your own sources of emotional support and how you might draw on them when you feel stressed, upset, or unsettled. This helps you to cultivate your resilience and ability to cope in challenging situations without losing a sense of who and what is important to you.
Take a moment to notice how you are feeling at the end of this activity. Did you discover anything surprising? What can you take away to make you feel better about yourself from this activity?
If you would like to, share something about your experience with this activity with someone you live with! Ask the person who looks after you to send us an email if you have any questions or comments about the activity, or would like to send us any pictures (firstname.lastname@example.org). Don't forget to subscribe for more fun CAT activities!
Created by Ian Grundy © June 2022
Creative Arts Used: Art
Psychological Areas Explored: Emotional Wellbeing, Emotional Literacy, Self Exploration, Relationships, Resilience
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These activities could be done by children of all ages, but some may need the support of their parent or carer to read the instructions or complete the activity safely.
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