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2-10 minutes


Primary / Junior / Intermediate


Chime, bell, singing bowl, or calming sound from an app


To help students notice what their mind/bodies tell them, so they can adopt strategies that will help them focus, self-regulate and calm feelings of anxiety when needed

Discuss the importance of listening to our bodies.

Ask students:

  • Why is listening to your mind/body important?
  • What do you hear when you listen to your mind/body?
  • What could those things tell you about your day? Your feelings? Your thoughts?

Then introduce a simple breathing exercise as a strategy to regulate.

Ask students to:

  • Sit in a comfortable position.
  • Keep your back straight and your shoulders relaxed.
  • You can close your eyes if you want or simply look down.
  • At the sound of the bell, breathe in through your nose.
  • When you think the sound has stopped, exhale.
  • Repeat

After the activity, have students reflect on how they feel now.

  • For older students, you may consider adding an inspirational quote or a positive affirmation to accompany the breathing practice (this can serve as added reflection).

Guided breathing exercises are an effective tool to help students regulate emotions (Metz et al., 2013). These interventions decrease physiological arousal, so the emotion and anxiety students feel becomes less intense (Gregoski, Barnes, Tingen, Harshfield, & Treiber, 2011), and students can refocus their attention on learning.

Gregoski, M. J., Barnes, V. A., Tingen, M. S., Harshfield, G. A., & Treiber, F. A. (2011). Breathing Awareness Meditation and LifeSkills Training Programs Influence Upon Ambulatory Blood Pressure and Sodium Excretion Among African American Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 48(1), 59-64. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.05.019

Metz, S. M., Frank, J. L., Reibel, D., Cantrell, T., Sanders, R., & Broderick, P. C. (2013). The Effectiveness of the Learning to BREATHE Program on Adolescent Emotion Regulation. Research in Human Development, 10(3), 252-272. doi:10.1080/15427609.2013.818488

Christian meditation can instill the awareness of the presence of God through contemplative prayer.

(3a) A reflective, creative and holistic thinker who recognizes there is more grace in our world than sin and that hope is essential in facing all challenges.

Self-regulation and well-being: to develop an awareness of ways to be calm, focused, and alert so they are better to learn