How thoughts affect feelings and actions

Students' thoughts affect their feelings and actions. Both pleasant and unpleasant emotions have an important role to play in maintaining mental fitness. During this lesson, students will assess how their feelings impact their mindset and will see the importance of rephrasing situations positively.

Year Level



5 minutes


  • In class activity
  • Online learning

SEL Competencies

  • Self-awareness
  • Social awareness

Learning Intention

Students learn the effects of thoughts on their feelings and behaviour.

Key Outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify the effect of negativity on their feelings and behaviour
  • understand the role of reflection in changing behaviour.
Activity 01

Instructions 5 min

1. Organise students into small groups (e.g. 3–4 students) and ask them to sit in a circle.

2. Students discuss:

  • What are some nice, happy or pleasant feelings? (e.g. joy, hope, love, pride)
  • What are the benefits of happy feelings such as feeling joyful, interested, contented or proud? (e.g. pleasant feelings tell us when something feels good; we feel happy, are more energised, show more initiative, are more willing to have a go, are more open to learning new things; we connect more with others, are more creative and trusting, better at problem solving)
  • What are some uncomfortable or unpleasant feelings? (e.g. sadness, anger, shame, guilt, stress)
  • Why do we have unhappy and uncomfortable feelings? (to warn us that we might need to protect ourselves or find ways to solve our problems)
  • What happens when our unpleasant feelings (e.g. anger or anxiety) are overwhelming? (e.g. we lose control; we don’t think clearly; we can make bad decisions)
  • What effect do unpleasant and negative feelings have on our wellbeing? (e.g. we feel worthless, struggle to see our potential or value)

Debrief: Explain to students that unpleasant thoughts can have a negative effect on our emotions and behaviour, and that it’s important to try and turn these into positive thoughts.