Hesperian Health Guides

Creative physical expression

HealthWiki > Health Actions for Women > Creative physical expression

In this chapter:

We all communicate in many ways. Sometimes we can use our bodies and different activities to take a break from thinking and talking activities. These activities can be used to break out of routines or to allow people to express themselves in ways that may be easier than formal discussion.

a woman speaking as she leads others in a guided meditation.
Remember to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Now, imagine you are walking through a forest...
A guided meditation is an excellent way to help people relax during intense or emotional meetings.

Teaching with drama

Dramatic scenes and role plays can help people practice new ways of being and relating to others. Performances can:

  • connect audiences emotionally to issues.
  • allow people to discuss difficult topics in a safe way.
  • speak to everyone, regardless of ability or education.
  • help people solve problems collectively.

Dramas and story-telling activities can also be used to educate people outside your group about the issues you are working on. When creating a drama, think about how you want your audience to feel. What important problem are you hoping to explore in your drama? How can you inspire your viewers to act on that problem in their own lives? Try to create characters your audience will identify with — characters that talk, live, and dress like they do. The problems your characters face should be realistic and similar to problems your audience faces. That way, the solutions or actions the characters act out will seem realistic. It is much easier to motivate people to take action if we present problems that touch their hearts as well as their minds. Stories about problems do not have to be simple. By showing how complex an issue is, we can engage groups in thinking deeply about causes and solutions. Health Actions

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Build your drama using the WOW approach (Want, Obstacle, Win)

Begin your drama with a want. Provide background, and then share the goal or desire of the main character.

a man and woman talking as they sit with 3 children.
When will you give me a son?
Asra is still so small... We barely have enough food as it is!

Create an obstacle, as this gives your drama excitement and interest.

2 women talking.
My husband wants to keep trying. He will not stop until we have a boy!
Maybe you can meet in the middle. Let’s think about what you can say to him.

End your drama with your character winning or losing in their quest.

a woman and a man talking.
I want to wait a couple more years until we try again — that way the girls will be old enough to help me take care of another baby.
I don’t want to stop trying forever — but maybe this way we can save some money until you are ready.

Words of advice

a woman thinking.
I need to remember not to give Mauro the role of the gay brother.

Drama can be very powerful. Keep these things in mind:


  • Do separate people from their roles. Talk about the drama after it has ended, but still refer to actors by their names or roles in the drama.
  • Do make the drama last long enough to make your point, then gently cut it off.
  • Do use lots of props (things that represent other objects, such as a cardboard sword), humor, funny names, switched gender roles, and exaggeration!

Music, songs, and dance

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Music and songs often affect people’s emotions in a strong way. When information or points of view are brought into the words of songs, they are easier for people to remember and to take away to share with others. Singing and dancing encourage participation, liven people up, and are a great way to communicate the increased power of group effort. Plus, they are fun! Songs and dances can change the energy of a meeting, help you draw attention to public presentations, and rally people to your cause.

This page was updated:05 Jan 2024