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Embodying Emotion

Brief:A fun movement drama-based game that allows young people to physically name what happens in their bodies when they experience different emotions


Step by Step

  1. The youth worker should explain that they are going to allow their bodies to fully become an emotion by making that emotion larger than life.
  2. The young people are asked to walk around the room in a neutral way. (Neutral is where their backs are straight, their arms by their sides and their heads look out over the horizon).
  3. The youth worker should explain that the young people are walking at energy level 5 right now, 5 is naturalistic energy, but as we explore the different emotions, we are going to climb all the way to 10 creating larger than life emotions.
  4. The youth worker will then add emotion to the room for example the youth worker may ask the young people to imagine if they were moving around the space as joy or anger. As the young people move about the room the facilitator should provide hypothetical scenarios that make them feel the emotion for example, “you have just had your favourite type of day with your favourite friends/ animals or things, you’re out and it’s your favourite type of weather.” The youth worker should ask identifying questions such as “How does your breathing feel? How does your forehead feel, where are your eyes focused? How does your spine feel? what type of thoughts are you having?”
  5. They youth worker counts up from 5 -10, adding to the story of the emotion and urging the young people to allow their bodies to become the emotion. They should keep on asking the identifying questions.
  6. This exercise can be repeated for a range of emotions.
  7. The youth worker should gather the young people at the end of the exercise to discuss what they noticed.

Things to Consider

The young people may feel embarrassed to move infront of other people, the youth worker should acknowledge this and allow for giggles. The more extreme shows of emotion in the body may feel challenging for the young people to get to, the youth worker can ask the young people to think of a cartoon character.


Our bodies give us signals all of the time about how we are feeling, however life can be too full to notice what emotion may be influencing your responses and thought processes. This exercise slows them down and makes them larger than life allowing the young person to identify how their body might respond to a particular emotion.

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