Lesson idea: Writing A Letter For A Bad Day

The content below is taken from the Learning Library at IPEN and is by Emily Larson (Director). It is the last of four interlinked lesson ideas I have posted, which focus on raising awareness of how our emotions impact us and the importance of developing emotional intelligence amongst children.  IPEN’s Learning Library has many free resources available to print or download, it’s a useful resource bank to add to your teaching toolkit.


Writing a letter for a bad day. 


To write a letter students can read on a bad day.


To be completed after ‘Positive Artefacts’ lesson.

Teacher Explanation: As we have learned, our negative emotions oftentimes outweigh our positive ones – they also narrow our focus so when we are having a bad day it is hard to imagine it will ever end and all we can focus on is that one bad thing. A lot of times it is important to feel bad emotions like fear or anxiety because they are signals to our body that something is worth paying attention to. But sometimes we need to add balance and pull ourselves out of those bad days with positive emotions. So today we are going to write a letter to ourselves in case of emergency. If you are having a bad day and can’t get out of it, you can pull this letter out to remind you of the things in life that might make you feel better – like your positive ingredients and artifacts. Implementation note: Allow the students to write a letter to themselves in the future as if they are reading it on a bad day. Ask them to remind themselves what their positive ingredients are and their positive artifacts. Encourage them to share this information with their future self as a way to add perspective to their bad day.

EXAMPLE Dear Emily, Today was a bad day, you are probably feeling pretty low right now. I am here to remind you that while there will always be bad days, there are so many things in the World that make you happy. Think back to your positive ingredients: your friends, dancing, writing in your journal, or running outside. Maybe one of these things are what you need to add to your day. Or think about your positive artifact: The song Perpetum Mobile. Perhaps turning this song on and closing your eyes for a moment might help you gain perspective. Remember, bad days are okay, negative emotions are important – but there is so much good going on out there, try and do one good thing today. Love, Emily

Teacher explanation: Now I want you to share this letter with one person you really trust in your life. So that when you have a bad day they can remind you of all the things you love.

Published by Improve My Well-being

Laura is an experienced mentor and teacher, with a MSc Applied Positive Psychology (Distinction). She enjoys living and working in multicultural environments and is passionate about promoting social well-being. Blogging is her outlet to share and explore well-being initiatives and practices with as many people as possible.

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