Download the simple meditation script supplied in the Resources tab.
Gather your group to sit in a circle, at their desks or find a space on the floor.
Announce to your group that you will soon lead them through a brief exercise to help them relax and get to know their inner world.
When ready, facilitate the meditation step by step, making adjustments according to the needs of your group.
Conclude this calming meditation by gently inviting your group back.
If desired, invite your group to reflect on their experience.
How To Play Narrative
Research tells us that turning our attention inward helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings. This wonderfully gentle exercise can teach your group to start becoming an observer instead of attaching themselves to their thoughts and feelings and getting stressed.
Often, we are not taught how to navigate our inner worlds, but the more we practice the more these inner senses become familiar and easier to navigate. Which is where this activity comes in.
First, invite your group to find a comfortable spot. In their seats, lying on the floor, etc.
Announce to your group that you will soon lead them through a brief exercise to help them relax and turn their attention inward. Suggest that this is a good time to put away all distractions and turn their attention toward you as you facilitate this calming ‘inner world tour’ meditation.
When ready, calmly begin to read from the meditation script supplied in the Resources tab, or create your own and/or improvise as necessary.
The key is to take your time, use a calming tone throughout and be gentle with yourself.
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.
For example, I often ask if people noticed how many thoughts they had during the experience. Lots, right? Assure your group that this is normal – we all get distracted. Explain that next time they can allow these thoughts to come and consciously put them away, then continue with their meditation.
Also, consider using a before and after check-in scale (from 1 to 10, with 10 being most) to monitor the level of stress or calm your group members are feeling.
Practical Leadership Tips
The key to this activity is to create a safe space for your group to practice mindfulness. Mention early on that this is a safe space to relax and to put their worries aside for a moment.
Avoid getting it ‘right’ (whatever that means.) The practise is to keep coming back to their breath every time they notice themselves getting distracted.
Don’t be afraid to try different tones, pace, meditation positions, and props depending on the ages of your group.
You can mention distractions as a way to normalise, relate, and connect to your group– everything from thoughts about the stress of how it’s hard to focus on meditation, feeling left out, worried about family life, etc.
Invite people to lay down if they don’t feel comfortable sitting, especially young children.
Feel free to include meditative music or aromatherapy during these sessions to help you set the mood.
You could integrate Inner World Tour as part of a well-designed SEL program to develop your group’s ability to understand their emotions, thoughts and values and how these influence behaviour in different situations.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Linking Feelings, Values & Thoughts
Identifying Personal, Cultural & Linguistic Assets
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
This Inner World Tour is explicitly designed to practice mindfulness. Start with the supplied meditation script and then improvise as desired. 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, that everyone has the ability to turn their focus inwards in an effort to relax on their own. 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.
Art Tour: Consider leading this meditation in conjunction with Inner World Art to produce a physical representation of one’s inner world.
Rest: For long-term or residential-based programs, consider using this exercise to lower stress levels before bed and upon waking or directly after a rather energetic exercise. Lead it as a matter of routine to achieve these objectives.
Inspire Creativity: Lead this meditation to inspire the imagination and creativity of your group, perhaps in advance of a big task that requires innovative thinking.
Open the Virtual Adaptation tab to learn how to present this activity online.
All meditations, including this one, can be presented in a virtual context. To help make this virtual experience as successful as possible, consider the following:
– Invite each person to find a comfortable and quiet area but within earshot of their device, ie they will need to be able to hear you. If possible, this area should promote calm and be clear of clutter.
– Encourage everyone to switch their phones to silent (or remove distractions.)
– Allow people to turn off their webcams if they feel more comfortable doing so.
Use the chatroom facility to check-in with your group before and after the meditation, eg On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the most) write in the chatroom how stressed you are feeling at this moment…
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Inner World Art
Delightfully artful exploration of a person's inner world.
Purposefully reflective experience for individuals.
Series of simple visualisations that promote relaxation.
Useful Framing Ideas
It may be helpful to share your experience with your own mindfulness practices, what works and what doesn’t. Here are some additional ways to frame the activity:
Did you know that what’s happening inside of you creates how you perceive the outside world? Mindfulness and meditation are great tools to help you become better friends with your body and mind…
Just like playing sports, the more we practice mindfulness, the better we are at paying attention and feeling our best. Mindfulness can also help us relax before a big test or game, or to help us feel less stressed if we are anxious…
We all have a ton of thoughts, feelings, and sensations that happen within us and around us all the time. If we can train ourselves to breathe through these distractions that perhaps we feel we cannot control, we can feel more at peace and connected. Here’s a fun exercise to help us develop that skill…
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 simple relaxation exercise:
How did you feel before and after the activity?
How long did it take for you to feel relaxed? Why?
Was this experience helpful to you? Why or why not?
What did you find hard about the activity?
In a few words, describe how your inner world looks and feels.
Which areas were tense? Flexible?
What colours and sensations did you notice? Where?
If there was an area that needed to be redecorated, which area would it be?
What did you notice in your body?
What did you notice in your mind?
What sensations did you notice?
Where can you see yourself using this exercise?
The inspiration for Inner World Tour was sourced from the book Mindful Games by Susan Kaiser Greenland and adapted by Lisa Hughes.