Recognising and managing our emotions

Lesson powerpoint here

Recognising emotions.

  • Play ‘greatest ever freakout guitar
  • Which emotions are the boys in the clip experiencing? What caused these emotions? How do we know what emotions they experienced?
  • Give students the info on emotions. Help them to understand the job the emotions do (moving us towards good things and away from bad things).
  • Give students the 4 zones and names of emotions and ask them to arrange the emotions into the four zones: high+positive (performance)/high+negative (survival)/ low+positive (recovery)/ low+negative (burnout). The vertical line describes our adrenaline levels and the horizontal line describes our serotonin levels. Serotonin is the hormone/chemical which makes us feel good.
  • Ask students the 4 questions on the slides:  1. Think of an event which might put them in each of the 4 zones. 2.Which zone should we spend most time in and which zone should we spend least time in? Why? 3.Which zones help you most when spending time with others? 4.Which zones help you most when dealing with challenges?

Managing emotions.

  • Ask students in small groups to discuss which zones they’ve been in this week and what caused them to be there.
  • Explain to students that when we’re in either the burnout or the survival zones, there are techniques for getting into the performance or recovery zones. These techniques are explained on the info about emotions and they are on the lesson powerpoint.
  • Take students through these techniques and ask them in pairs to discuss if they use any of them already and how successful they are. (There is a more detailed PDF by Barbara Fredrickson on creating positive emotions, using 12 different techniques.)
  • Give students an introduction to mindfulness, one of the best ways of managing our mood: there is a 12 minute guided mindfulness here.
  • Ask students to briefly evaluate how they felt after mindfulness.


  • One of the best ways to improve our emotional state is to receive kindness or be kind to another person. Ask students to either write about the kindest thing another person has ever done for them and the impact it had on them, or (even better) to perform an act of kindness for someone else and write about how it affects their mood.