Draw images of your thoughts when feeling different things
What you’ll need: Paper, coloured pens or pencils, scissors and glue (if making it as a collage)
What’s it for?
This activity helps you to recognise how your thoughts and feelings are connected. Knowing when you’re feeling a certain way, and being able to label it are great emotional literacy skills, and can help you to regulate yourself if feeling overwhelmed.
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?
You can do this activity in two ways, either as a picture which you draw on one piece of paper or as a collage. If you decide to do a collage then make a sky background covering all the paper and then stick the cloud thought-feelings on top. Otherwise, follow the instructions below.
On a large sheet of paper, draw at least eight fairly large cloud shapes.
In each of the clouds choose a feeling and draw or write about what your thoughts look like when you’re experiencing that feeling. For example, when you’re feeling angry your thoughts might look like a volcano about to erupt, or an exploding bomb; when you’re feeling happy, your thoughts might look like playing on the swings in the park, or might be like dancing in the rain!
You don’t need to think of different feelings for each cloud (although you can), you might draw more than one cloud for a feeling that you have lots of ideas and images for! Do try to have a few different feelings though. As a start, you might want to draw clouds for: happy, sad, angry, peaceful, surprised, love.
When you’ve finished drawing each of your clouds, spend some time colouring in the sky behind them.
Extra Activity: Take a moment to look at all your clouds representing different feelings. Think about how you can create more of the feelings that you like in your life.
When you’ve finished, spend a moment reflecting on the activity and ask yourself the following questions:
Which emotions do you prefer feeling? How can you bring more of those feelings into your life?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a certain feeling, what is the best way for you to regulate yourself?
Sometimes our thoughts affect how we feel, and sometimes our feelings affect our thoughts. What’s happening for you right now?
This exercise helps you to recognise your own thoughts and feelings and how they’re connected to each other. Learning to name and understand your feelings is a key skill for emotional literacy. Mark Brackett in his book ‘Permission to Feel’, has a useful way for us to explore our feelings: R-U-L-E-R, standing for Recognise - Understand - Label - Express - Regulate.
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?
Brackett, M. (2019): Permission to Feel, London: Quercus
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 © July 2021
Creative Arts Used: Art, Creative Writing
Psychological Areas Explored: Emotional Wellbeing, Emotional Literacy, Self-Exploration
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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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