Primary / Junior / Intermediate
Visualization script, music (optional)
To teach students a way to calm feelings of tension or anxiety before tests or transitions
Have students sit comfortably and take a slow breath in through their nose and imagine what you read. Begin to read:
- Breathe out and soften your gaze. Imagine that you are standing in a safe, peaceful forest. Birds are singing in the trees and bushes all around you. You can hear the soothing, gentle songs behind you…to your left…to your right…in front of you…and in the trees above. You breathe in deeply and your nose tells you that it has rained recently. Everything smells alive and full. Up ahead you notice flowers growing beneath the trees. You walk over and lean in to look more closely at one flower. Notice the rich colour of the petals. Is it different from the colour at the flower’s center?
- Now a butterfly dances into view and lands on this special flower. Perched on the flower, the butterfly’s wings slowly open and close while you slowly breathe in and out and enjoy this moment. Notice the colour and pattern of the wings. The butterfly seems curious about you but is not afraid. You watch it for awhile. Then, gently, the butterfly lifts off the flower and flies away. You follow it with your eyes until the wings disappear into the tree leaves.
- Looking around, you notice that you have walked into a clearing filled with tall grass and a rainbow of flowers. You hear a creek in the distance, and crickets in the meadow. Dragonflies dance across the tall grass. Looking down at your hands, you notice the warm glow of sunlight on them.
- Close your eyes and bring your hands full of sunlight to your heart. Breathe in calm. Breathe out calm. When you are ready, focus your eyes.
- Some students may not be comfortable with the visualization experience, so you may wish to have peaceful images out on their desks or projected for them to reflect on instead.
- Use different scripts throughout the year to keep the practice engaging.
- For some, it may be helpful to draw the visualization script.
- Knowing the students in your class, you may need to scaffold the activity. Use different scripts throughout the year to keep the practice engaging.
- Add relaxing background music (e.g., Solitudes).
- Teachers could use this before writing or art.
Exercises that attune students to their internal states, and help them cope with stress, train the mind to respond efficiently to distractions or feelings of intense emotions or anxiety (Domitrovich, Cortes, & Greenberg, 2007; Felver, Celis-de Hoyos, Tezanos, & Singh, 2016).
Domitrovich, C. E., Cortes, R. C., & Greenberg, M. T. (2007). Improving Young Children’s Social and Emotional Competence: A Randomized Trial of the Preschool “PATHS” Curriculum. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 28(2), 67-91. doi:10.1007/s10935-007-0081-0
Felver, J. C., Celis-de Hoyos, C. E., Tezanos, K., & Singh, N. N. (2016). A Systematic Review of Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Youth in School Settings. Mindfulness, 7(1), 34-45. doi:10.1007/s12671-015-0389-4
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