This time of year is particularly hard for teachers and students. The level of stress and frenzied activity is heightened as the end of the school year grows nearer and lots still needs to get done. Mindfulness offers a bit of solace by helping to bring awareness to stressful moments during the day.
Here are some tips to help develop resiliency to stress by helping students access the resources of their breath, body, and classroom community.
Tips for Helping Your Students Manage Stress
Setting the tone during the beginning of class can go a long way in and helping students prepare for the rigors of the day.
- Start each class by taking couple of breaths together. Ask students to bring their shoulders up to their ears, let them drop slowly, and let out a sigh. Repeat 3-4 times or as necessary.
- Incorporate some gentle stretches or mindful movement to wake up their minds and bodies. Think overhead arm stretches or clapping hands to a rhythm.
- You might also consider dimming the lights a bit—the bright glare (and sound) of florescent lights can sometimes add to students’ stress.
Anchor Students’ Attention
STEP 1: Ask students to sit in a tall and relaxed position, take a couple breaths and notice where the sensation of the breath feels the strongest.
STEP 2: Ask them to notice the parts of the body touching the chair or floor. Next ask them to notice the bottoms of their feet. Are their feet warm or cold, tired, or energized?
STEP 3: Ask students to focus on the sensations on their hands. Are their hands cold or warm, tired, or energized?
STEP 4: Lastly ask students to check in on their breath and notice where the sensation of the breath is the strongest.
STEP 5: Debrief with your class and asked them what they noticed.
If time permits or students want to try another option, ask them to choose something small in the distance to focus their sight on. As they look intently at the spot, they can focus on their breaths or ask them to also feel the bottoms of their feet or sensations on their hands.
Don’t forget to also celebrate with your students after experiencing and managing challenging experiences. Remind your students of the their successes and to be proud for stepping up to the challenge.
Share with your community!
Help your students bring awareness to the stress they’re feeling with these activities and ask them how they liked it. Or try to use them yourself! What happened? Share with fellow teachers in your school or on social media with #mindfulschools.