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10-15 minutes


Weekly / Daily




To help students develop a practice to remain focused in the moment and be less anxious and reactive

Explain to students that they will feel more in control if they are able to stay present in the moment. Grounding exercises such as 5 4 3 2 1 help achieve this.

Practice with students to introduce the concept. They will name:

  • five things they see
  • four things they hear
  • three things they feel
  • two things they smell
  • one thing they taste (or any combination)

Afterwards, discuss with students when they can use this practice independently and why. Students can be encouraged to use this practice daily.

This practice can be guided weekly and students can be encouraged to use it daily.

Grounding is a mindful awareness practice (MAP) that allows students to feel more in control while they stay mindful of the present (Bamber & Schneider, 2015). Grounding exercises provide an individual with an internal locus of control where physical sensations are controlled in order to minimize catastrophic interpretations that enhance panic or worry. Furthermore, MAPs promote mental fitness, which enhances learning, and makes it easier to demonstrate social-emotional skills (Metz et al., 2013). “The calmer, more focused mental state potentially achieved through MAPs may help students be less anxious and reactive so they can develop positive, healthy relationships with teachers and peers” (Dusenbury et al., 2015).

Bamber, M. & Schneider, J. (2015). Mindfulness-Based Meditation to Decrease Stress and Anxiety in College Students: A Narrative Synthesis of the Research. Educational Research Review.18. doi: 10.1016/j.edurev.2015.12.004

Dusenbury, L., Zadrazil, J., Weissberg, R. P., Goren, P., Domitrovich, C., & Mart, A. (2015). Developing a blueprint for education in social and emotional learning, preschool through high school: The case for state learning standards. In J. Durlak, C. E. Domitrovich, R. P. Weissberg, and T. P. Gullotta (Eds.), Handbook of social and emotional learning (pp. 532-548). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Metz, S., Frank, J., Reibel, D., Cantrell, T. & C. Broderick, P. (2013). The Effectiveness of the Learning to BREATHE Program on Adolescent Emotion Regulation. Research in Human Development.10(3). doi: 10.1080/15427609.2013.818488