Impulse Reactions

The objective of this lesson is help young people gain an insight into the relationship between impulsive actions and violence.  

What you will need

You will need...

Timing: 1 hour


Start by...

  • Explain the purpose of the activity: to explore the relationship between thoughts, feelings and impulsive actions that may lead to violence.
  • Emphasise the importance of self-awareness and understanding the impact of our thoughts and actions on ourselves and others.
Thought Cycle 
  • Draw the thought cycle on the flip chart or whiteboard.
  • Talk through each step of the cycle using the example and explanation below.
  • Encourage leaners to reflect on how their thoughts influence their feelings, behaviors and results in various situations.


Imagine a scenario where someone has posted a nasty comment about Jenny on social media.

Thought: If they’ve posted this comment, what else are they saying about me?

Feeling: Embarrassed, scared, anxious.

Behavior: Stop attending youth group.

Result: Isolates herself from family & friends.

In this example, the thought of being judged or criticised on social media leads to feelings of embarrassment, fear and anxiety. These feelings then prompt Jenny to avoid social situations, such as attending youth group, which ultimately results in her isolating herself from her family and friends.

The thought-feeling-behavior-result cycle demonstrates how our thoughts can influence our emotions, actions and outcomes in various situations. By recognising the role of our thoughts in shaping our experiences, we can become more aware of the patterns and choices that contribute to our behavior.

Middle bit...

A Live Thought-Chain
  • Divide learners into groups of five or more.
  • Have each group stand in a line, with one person representing each step of the thought cycle (Thought, Feeling, Behavior, Result).
  • Instruct the Thought person to start by sharing an example thought out loud. This should relate to violence between girls. 
  • Proceed with each person in the line sharing their response based on the previous step (Feeling, Behavior, Result).
  • After completing one round, introduce a new Thought person who shares a different thought, replacing the existing Thought.
  • Repeat the process, with each new Thought person introducing a new thought and the group discussing the resulting feelings, behaviors and results.
Role Play: Exploring Impulsive Actions
  • Provide each group with a scenario card 
  • Instruct groups to role-play the scenario, taking on different roles and exploring the thoughts, feelings and actions of each character.
  • Encourage leaners to consider the triggers and consequences of impulsive actions, as well as alternative responses. Relate this to the previous activity.
  • After the role-plays, facilitate a debriefing discussion with the whole group:
    • Invite groups to preform their scenario.
    • Ask groups to share their thoughts and observations from the role-play.
    • Discuss the impact of impulsive actions on relationships and the importance of self-awareness in preventing violence between girls.

End by...

  • Encourage leaners to reflect individually on what they've learned from the session.
  • Ask them to identify one action they will take to increase self-awareness and prevent impulsive actions in their own lives.
  • Provide time for these to share be shared with the group, if they feel comfortable.
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