Leadership Inspirations Activities

Guided Visualization

Focus the energy of the group through a guided visualization exercise

Duration

10 minutes

Team Stage

Storming, Norming, Performing

Type Of Activity

Energizer

Materials

None

 

SUMMARY

Lead a guided visualization exercise to focus and calm the energy of a group.

 

SET UP

  • Have each participant find a space where they can relax and sit comfortably.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Ask participants to get comfortable, close their eyes, and prepare to listen to a guided visualization.
  • Read the visualization slowly, pausing for a few seconds between each sentence.

“Close your eyes and relax your body. Let all your thoughts leave your mind, and just pay attention to your body. If you find a thought coming into your mind, gently let it go and bring your attention back to your body. Pay attention to your head. Feel its weight as it gently sways on your neck. Bring your attention to your face. Relax all of your facial muscles. Bring your attention down to your neck. Bring your attention down to your shoulders. Release the tension in your shoulders and let them gently drop. Pay attention to your arms. Pay attention to your elbows. Pay attention to your wrists. Pay attention to your hands. Pay attention to your fingers. Feel each finger connect with your lap or with the surface it’s resting on. Bring your attention to your chest. Feel it softly expand with each breath you take. Bring your attention to your back. Let your attention travel down your spine. Bring your attention to your hips. Feel your hips connecting with the chair below you. Pay attention to your thighs. Bring your attention to your knees. Bring your attention to your legs. Bring your attention to your ankles. Bring your attention to your feet. Imagine them growing roots deep into the ground below you. Bring your attention to your toes. Slowly wiggle your toes. As you wiggle your toes, let your attention wander back into your body and let your mind come back to your physical space. When you’re ready, open your eyes.“

  • Thank the group for participating in the guided visualization.

VARIATIONS

  • Focus the activity more specifically on breathing with the following visualization:

“Close your eyes and relax your body. Straighten your back. Hold your head up high with your neck gently elongated. Plant your feet firmly on the ground. Pay attention to each breath entering and leaving your body. Breathe in through your nose for a count of three seconds. Feel your lungs expand as you hold the breath for two seconds. Then breathe out through your mouth for five seconds. In, one, two, three. Hold, one, two. Out, one, two, three, four, five. Inhale… Hold… And exhale… (Repeat the counting and breathing several times). When you’re ready, open your eyes.“

  • Focus the guided visualization on an imagined journey, such as walking on the beach. To facilitate this variation, read a visualization such as the following:

“Close your eyes, relax your body, and let your imagination wander. Imagine you are walking on the beach. Feel the soft sand between your toes with each step you take. Feel the warm rays of the sun beating down on your back. Feel the cool, gentle breeze brushing past your skin. Hear the gentle crashing of the waves on the shore. Smell the sweet, salty sea air wafting all around you. See the birds gliding peacefully through the air ahead of you. Imagine you are holding your favorite beverage. You take a sip, feel the cold liquid hit your tongue, and taste the refreshing beverage as you gently swallow.“ Continue the visualization focusing on the five senses and what the participants should imagine experiencing. You can also change up the location by mentioning stepping off of the beach and into a jungle, or into a house. This allows you to incorporate a wider variety of senses and experiences in the visualization.

  • Focus the guided visualization on a walk through your school’s campus. To facilitate this variation, read a visualization such as the following:

“Close your eyes and imagine you are walking into school the day after the first pep rally of the year. Feel the warm sun on your shoulders and the crisp early Fall breeze on your face as you walk through the parking lot and up the stairs towards the front entrance. You reach out in front of you, push open the door, and walk into the building. As you walk in, you see groups of students walking through the halls together, chatting with one another. The hall is buzzing with excitement. As you walk down the hall, you notice posters and flyers for upcoming events lining the walls. You walk down the hall past long rows of lockers, hearing more chatter from students the farther down the hall you walk. You turn left into the gym and see the remnants of yesterday’s pep rally. You see a banner left hanging up on the wall and walk over to it. As you reach out and touch it you can smell the paint, having just dried hours before the start of yesterday’s pep rally. You look at your watch and see that first period is about to begin. You walk out of the gym, walk over to your locker, and get ready for your day to begin.” (Adjust the script as necessary to fit your campus).

SAMPLE DEBRIEFING QUESTIONS

What?
  • What was the goal of this activity?
  • Did your group do well? What could have improved?
  • How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
  • How did your group manage conflict that arose?
So What?

Inclusion and Involvement

  • What does it mean to be inclusive or exclusive?
  • What did we do as a group that was inclusive? That was exclusive/not inclusive?
  • Why is inclusion and involvement important for our group?

Group Dynamics

  • What are the traits that make someone successful on this team? What are the traits that make someone unsuccessful on this team?
  • What motivates our group?
  • How does our group dynamic affect the way we get work done?
Now What?
  • What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
  • What’s one commitment each person can make?
  • What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
  • How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
  • What can you do differently moving forward?