Connecting Emotions to Choices and Consequences

High School Social Emotional Learning Activity

Teen SEL activity choices and consequences to emotions worksheet

Connecting Emotions to Choices and Consequences Worksheet


See the connection between making good choices and feeling good... and making bad choices and feeling bad. Help teens learn that
1) the thrill of an irresponsible choice is temporary, and it usually turns into a negative feeling afterward
2) making a good choice may feel difficult in the moment, but the real reward of a good choice is the long-term good feeling that comes with it.

Grade Level

High School

Health / Social Emotional Topics

  • Being Responsibile
  • Making healthy choices
  • Reducing risk
  • Emotions, Happiness


Quotes and Teaching Notes

Each quote features teaching notes related to the quote. Choose a quote that relates to the activity:


Also from this author:

Rooted in Decency Book on moral compass and core values.


1. Review the full teaching resources for the quote “Doing good feels good” (or the alternate quote, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.")

2. Discuss what a conscience is and how it helps you feel whether or not your choice is a good idea.
- A conscience is that feeling inside of you that helps you know if what you are doing aligns with what you know is right or wrong. (See "what is conscience?" definition)
- Good choices feel good. Think about how you feel when you do something nice for someone. Maybe your heart feels glowy, or you feel proud.
- Bad choices feel bad. Think of a time you did something you thought was wrong. Where did you feel it? Did your heart feel tight? Were you worried or anxious? Did you have "pangs" of guilt?
- Listen to your body- your conscience is there to remind you whether your actions line up with the type of person you want to be.

3. Compare short-term and long-term consequences.
In the moment when you are making a choice, there's a short-term and a long-term result.

Short term: Making unhealthy choices may feel good in the moment, but there's usually a negative price to pay later.

Long-term: Making a healthy choice may be difficult in the moment. Sometimes doing the right thing isn't easy. But in the long-term, making a good choice feels good. You get the reward of feeling good about your actions and being proud of yourself for doing the right thing. Even if no one else knows what you did, your self-respect and self-esteem get a boost when you act in a way that lines up with the type of person you want to be. (See more on the link between making good choices and building self-respect.)

4. Discuss these real teen scenarios with choices and consequences.
Identify the feelings the teen would have had in the moment of making the choice, and the feeling that would come later. What clues does your body give you about how you'll feel in the short term, and how you'll feel in the long term?
Download worksheet

Choices & Consequences Scenarios:

  • Ariana has a paper due tomorrow. She’s hanging with friends and stays late. She decides she can write the paper really quickly later. How does it feel when: Ariana stays and hangs with friends? When Ariana has to show her parents her grade?
  • Shawn is having a great time with some friends, but one of them looks like he really needs to go home. Shawn doesn’t want to leave, but he helps his friend get home safely. How does it feel when: Shawn has to leave the fun? When Shawn’s friend thanks him the next day?
  • Sam’s friend wants him to try this new thing and Sam really doesn’t want to. But Sam doesn’t want his friend to be mad either. He chooses to do it and then realizes he just put himself in bad situation. How does it feel when: Sam’s chooses his friend over his own feelings? When Sam realizes he’s in a bad situation?
  • Dion’s mom asks him to have the house tidy before she gets home because she’s bringing some work friends over. Dion forgets and leaves for practice with his stuff and food laying around the living room. How does it feel when: Dion takes off for practice? When Dion gets home from practice and sees mom?
  • Olivia started a new job. Her boss gives her a list of tasks to do before closing. Olivia really doesn’t want to do them but she keeps doing them until they are done well. Then she takes off for the night. How does it feel when: Olivia is doing the tasks? When Olivia gets to work the next day and her new boss is pleased?
  • Ben has worked hard to keep his grades up so he can get into an exclusive technical program after high school. The new program has a behavior code of conduct. Ben goes out during lunch with some friends who get into trouble. The new program finds out about it. How does Ben feel when: Ben was out at lunch with his friends? When he gets a call from the technical program?
  • Liam wants a new video game. He knows where he can download it for free, but he also knows it’s not legal to get it that way. It costs a few dollars to get it the right way so downloading it for free is like stealing. He wants it, but he also knows it's not the right thing to do. How does it feel when: Liam waits until he can buy the game? When he buys it the legal way?