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10-15 minutes






To help students learn to soothe their body and mind and regulate emotions during times of stress

  • Explain the purpose of doing this activity to students.
  • From the list below, select some, or all, of the suggested areas to be scanned.
  • Ask students to engage in this activity wherever they are (e.g., standing, sitting, etc.).

Use the following instructions:

  • Visualize each part of the body that I name and pay attention to whether you feel tense or relaxed in that area. Notice any aches, pains or tensions and take a deep breath in through your nose and focus on relaxing this area, then exhale out through your mouth.
  • Start at the crown of your head, followed by the forehead, the eyes, the nose, the cheeks, the jaw, the mouth, the chin and finally the ears including any sounds that you notice.
  • Focus on your neck and shoulders, notice any tension or sensation of air in the throat.
  • Pay attention to your arms, elbows, wrists, hands and fingers.
  • Focus on your chest area. Notice the rise and fall of the chest when you breathe in and out.
  • Focus on your stomach, your lower back, your hips, and your sitting bones.
  • Focus on your thighs, feel the weight of your legs, your knees and your calves, noticing how your muscles feel.

When the practice is complete, ask students to take a moment to personally reflect about any areas where they were carrying aches, pains or tensions and whether this practice helped them to feel better.

Ask students to make their own audio recordings of the instructions. These can be set to some calming music and listened to whenever needed.

Exercises that attune students to their internal states, and help them to cope with stress, train the mind to respond efficiently to distractions and feelings of intense emotions or anxiety (Felver et al, 2016). Embry & Biglan (2008) state that when practising nasal breathing (i.e. breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth) cognitive function is improved, while, at the same time, feelings of panic, anxiety, and hostility are reduced.

Embry, D. D., & Biglan, A. (2008). Evidence-based kernels: fundamental units of behavioral influence. Clinical child and family psychology review, 11(3), 75–113. doi:10.1007/s10567-008-0036-x

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