Helpful and positive thinking

This strategy will help students to:

  • understand the link between feelings and behaviour

  • practise positive self-talk and identify negative self-talk 

  • understand the importance of managing their feelings before undertaking any decision-making.


  1. Explain that what students think or say to themselves (i.e. self-talk) can affect how they feel and act in situations, and that self-talk can be either helpful and positive or unhelpful and negative.

  2. Give students a range of scenarios to help develop their understanding of helpful and unhelpful thinking, positive and negative self-talk and to provide opportunity for students to practise positive self-talk.

I feel, I think, I can

  1. Give a 'I feel, I think, I can' worksheet to each pair of students in the class.

  2. Pose a scenario that may cause distress (e.g. being teased about being the only one in your group of friends who does not have a boyfriend/girlfriend or being pressured by your boyfriend/girlfriend to have sex). Model the use of the cards to illustrate that the most important card is the ‘I think' card as helpful and positive thinking can result in positive behaviour, and unhelpful and negative thinking may result in negative behaviour.

  3. Ask students to discuss how they would feel and think in this situation and then decide what they can do to have a positive outcome.

Thought bubbles

  1. Students draw a comic strip scenario of no more than 4 frames outlining a stressful or difficult relationship situation.

  2. Students swap their comic strips with a partner. The partner must draw in speech bubbles and write in helpful and positive thinking that could be used to cope with the situation depicted.