Icebreaker | Feelings and Needs

This "icebreaker" can be used by yourself anytime throughout the day (it's really effective when incorporated into a morning routine) and/or at the start of any meeting as way to "check-in" with both ourselves and our teammates.

The QUESTION: How are you feeling and what are you needing right now in each of these areas of life? (Remember that care (something we value) is at the root of all emotions.)

  • Personally - I’m experiencing (pleasant/unpleasant feelings - see below) because I have/need (see needs below).
  • Relationally - I’m experiencing (pleasant/unpleasant feelings - see below) because I have/need (see needs below).
  • Vocationally - I’m experiencing (pleasant/unpleasant feelings - see below) because I have/need (see needs below).

FEELINGS What feeling am I experiencing? (Notice that the feelings below come in pairs of pleasant and unpleasant experiences. You might think of these feelings as two sides of the same "coin".)

  • Pleasant - HAPPINESS - Based in the past. I have gained something valued or cared about.
  • Unpleasant - SADNESS - Based in the past. Loss of something valued or cared about.
  • Pleasant - ENTHUSIASM - Future holds possibility of getting my needs met or gaining something I value.
  • Unpleasant - ANXIETY (Fear) - Future holds uncertainty about getting my needs met or losing something that I value.
  • Pleasant - GRATITUDE - Someone else has met a need that I have.
  • Unpleasant - ANGER - Judgement that someone has violated my values or needs.
  • Pleasant - PRIDE - I have expressed my values in some meaningful way.
  • Unpleasant - GUILT - I have (or am considering) violated my values.

We tend to experience “unpleasant” feelings when our NEEDS are not being met or are being violated. When we’re experiencing “pleasant” feelings our NEED have usually been met/exceeded.

NEEDS What do I think or feel that I need?

  • SECURITY (physical, emotional, financial)
  • HONESTY (trusted/trusting, predictability)
  • CONNECTION (relationships, community)
  • AUTONOMY (independence)
  • MEANING (purpose, context)
  • RECOGNITION (to be known, acknowledged)