To build a regular practice that helps students focus their attention, calm feelings of anxiety, and manage stress
Provide context for the practice (see “Evidence” section).
Practice these steps ahead of implementing them with students.
Remind students to keep breathing. Model these actions as you go through your instructions.
Discuss afterwards how students feel before versus after the practice.
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 feelings of panic, anxiety, and hostility are reduced. Additionally, stretching exercises not only relax one’s mind, they also reduce stress (Harvard Health Publishing, 2018). Students who engage in physical activity and/or breathing exercises during the school day are able to focus, and maintain attention throughout the day, as these tasks stimulate the brain and allow students to better regulate the emotions they are experiencing.
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
Harvard Health Publishing. (2018). Exercising to relax. Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax
Stretching and letting go of tension caused by unpleasant feelings and emotions can be an opportunity for students to deepen their understanding that they can surrender the worries and stresses to God.
(4d) A self-directed, responsible, lifelong learner who responds to, manages, and constructively influences change in a discerning manner.
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