I Felt__When__

Understand your own emotions by sharing situations when you feel various emotions.


Learn about the “logic of feelings” by articulating specific situations where certain feelings arise.



  1. In a partner or small group, one person chooses a feeling card (without looking) and reads it.
  2. The person thinks of a time they felt this feeling, and they explain:
    I felt  (the feeling on the card) when (the situation) because (why they had that feeling). 
    For example: “I felt sad when I lost my teddy bear because I loved it so much & I didn’t know if I would ever find him again.

  3. The other people in the group then say if they have had a situation like this or not, and then the next person draws a card.


  1. In this exercise, you identified reasons why you felt the feelings. Since there are reasons for feelings, do you think feelings are logical…   or do you think they’re not… or in the middle? Why?
  2. How easy or hard was it to understand other people’s explanations of their feelings? Did you find that you could also imagine having that feeling in that situation?
  3. Some researchers have found that almost all human cultures have similar feelings. Why do you suppose that might be?
    If it’s true that emotions are something most people have in common, how could it help you to learn more about understanding and expressing feelings?


Invite participants to make their own set of feeling cards by either drawing or by cutting pictures from magazines or from open‐source photos. Then, ask them to randomly select 3 (or 5) cards and make a story of a person going through all the feelings in one day, explaining why a person had these different feelings.

Activity Source

Joshua Freedman & Susan Stillman

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About this activity…






2-4 minutes