In advance, download one of the meditation scripts from the Resources tab.
Cut your paper into short strips of paper, one for each person in your group.
Invite your group to gather in a circle on the floor or wherever they are comfortable.
Distribute a slip of paper and a pen/marker to each person.
Place a jar or bowl in the middle of the circle.
Announce to your group that you will soon lead them through a brief exercise to help them create positive and empowering affirmations to support their overall well-being.
Follow the prompts provided in your chosen script.
Facilitate the activity step by step, making adjustments according to the needs of your group.
In conclusion, invite your group to reflect on their experience in pairs or as a whole.
How To Play Narrative
This awesome reflective exercise is all about taking a closer look at our internal dialogue, both negative and positive thoughts.
It works on taking our negative thoughts and creating more empowering affirmations from them.
Your first task is to grab some paper and cut a few sheets into a bunch of small slips of paper, sufficient for one per person in your group. Then, armed with a bowl or some other large receptacle, you’re ready to gather your group.
Browse the selection of meditation scripts available to you in the Resources tab. If this is new to you, download the ‘General Affirmations’ script to get started.
Invite your group to find a comfortable spot in your space, ie behind their desks, tables or on the floor. Distribute a blank slip of paper to each person together with a pen or marker.
When ready, tell your group that you are about to guide them through a simple, yet very powerful exercise that will help them to create a set of positive thoughts about themselves. This might be very new to your group, so carefully consider your sequence leading into this activity to ensure success.
Calmly begin to read from your chosen meditation script and improvise as necessary.
The key is to take your time, use a calming tone throughout and, if this is new, be gentle with yourself.
At the end of the activity, you should see a bowl filled with little bits of paper, all featuring a bunch of positive thoughts and affirmations from your group.
You could stop here, but there is great value to discover if you continue, as guided by the scripts. Invite one person at a time to randomly pull one of the little slips of paper from the bowl and read what is written on it aloud to the group.
Allow a few moments for each thought to sit with your group before inviting the next person to pull a new slip out of the bowl, and so on. Continue until all thoughts have been shared, or depending on your goals, share only a selection of them.
At the end of the activity, encourage your group to share their feelings and insights if they feel comfortable. You could adopt a Paired Share Debrief or open it more generally to the group.
Refer to the Reflection Tips tab for conversation starters.
Practical Leadership Tips
Speaking about weaknesses and strengths can be a sensitive subject for many. Remind your group that this is a safe space free of judgement and that all affirmations will be anonymous.
If someone chooses not to share their affirmations, remind them that it is perfectly fine, and the opportunity is always there if they change their mind.
You could integrate Affirming Thoughts as part of a well-designed SEL program to manage your group’s emotions, thoughts and behaviours in different situations and to achieve goals.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Linking Feelings, Values & Thoughts
Identifying Personal, Cultural & Linguistic Assets
Anticipating & Evaluating the Consequences of One’s Actions
Promoting Personal & Collective Well-Being
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
This exercise is explicitly designed to practice mindfulness. Start with one of the supplied meditation scripts (or create your own) and then, later, encourage your group to review what they wrote at any time they feel the need. To squeeze the most value from your group’s experience, be sure to invite a short reflection at the end, perhaps guided by some of the questions posed in the Reflection Tips tab.
Also, practising mindfulness is a wonderful way for many people to build their emotional intelligence and resilience muscles. Remind your group that while on this occasion you may have led the meditation, everyone has the ability to think of and record positive and affirming thoughts at any time in an effort to support their well-being, eg to self-regulate. It just takes practice and self-awareness of when this would be useful. Admittedly, this last part is the hard part, but everything comes with practice.
Core Curriculum: Create a self-care curriculum that includes affirmations before, during or after your program, day or week. Consider leading these meditations on a regular basis to support long-term well-being.
Partner Affirmations: Form pairs to collaborate and help each other to create and record their affirmations. This strategy can sometimes mine deeper levels of support for each other.
Inner Child: Lead a guided meditation in which your group imagines themselves as a child (download script from the Resources tab.)
My Strengths: Lead a guided meditation that invites your group to focus on their strengths (download script from the Resources tab.)
Open the Virtual Adaptation tab to learn how to present this activity online.
This activity, together with the accompanying scripts, can be presented virtually. To help you get the most out of this exercise online, here are some things to consider:
– Use the chatroom (via private message, to keep things anonymous) to invite your group to share their affirmations with you. When ready, share this list of affirmations with the group.
– Let your group know that they can switch off their webcams if they feel more comfortable participating in this way.
– Ask everyone to switch off their phones or put them on silent.
For the purposes of reflection, invite your group to use the chatroom to share their affirmation instead of speaking into the microphone.
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Useful Framing Ideas
Did you know you have an inner voice? If you just heard yourself say NO, guess what? That was your inner voice. The words we tell ourselves are powerful. They can either empower us or defeat us – it’s up to you to choose words that lift you up and make you feel good…
Have you heard of these quotes before? “What you believe, you will achieve” or “Whether you think you can or can’t, you are right”? What do you think they are saying? [ allow time for responses… ] These quotes tell us that it is our beliefs and the way we think that shape our lives. This is exactly the focus of our next exercise…
One of the most important aspects of our lives is the quality of our decision making. That is to say, what we think and how we treat ourselves determines the quality of our life. With an optimistic mindset, we have the ability to motivate ourselves, boost our self-esteem, and make our dreams come true. Does this sound like something you would like to experience?…
It may seem easier to put ourselves down instead of speaking positively about ourselves, but in this exercise and with practice, we will be able to change our negative self-talk into empowering words of self-love to improve our overall well-being and quality of life…
Reflection Tips & Strategies
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after leading this powerful meditation exercise:
Were you familiar with affirmations before this activity?
Was it difficult to think of affirming thoughts, and then share them? Why?
Do you see yourself reading or using your affirmations daily? Why or why not?
Where in your life do you think you could benefit from regular affirmations?
Do you think your affirmations can inspire more self-love and confidence?
Did anyone have similar affirmations to yours? How did that make you feel?
What did you like most about this activity?
What inspired you out of this exercise?
Do you have anyone in your family or mentors that use affirmations?
Where do you think affirmations would be useful in the life of our group?
The inspiration for Affirming Thoughts was sourced from Lisa Hughes and the Affirmations Worksheet by RootedWellness.