Thoughts-body workout routines to calm your college students down when they’re burdened

All children can benefit from activities like mindful breathing and visualization, but especially children dealing with something truly significant like a recent move, divorce, or death in the family. Mind-body exercises can help children calm their minds and regulate their emotions. Among the many benefits of introducing mind-body exercises into your classroom are students learning better self-control, anxiety management, concentration, and mental focus.

The following activities are derived from activities and lessons in the Starr Commonwealth Certified Trauma and Resilience Specialist in Education program.

breathing and movement

Involving children in breathing and movement activities helps them become more aware of their bodies and the sensations in their bodies. It teaches them how to use their breath to focus their attention and calm themselves. The goal is for children to learn techniques they can use later when they need help regulating their emotions or behavior. Remember, the more they practice, the easier it will be for them to call on these resources in uncomfortable or overwhelming situations.

Simple mind-body exercises are to start with deep abdominal breathing. In this activity, students stand upright with their feet shoulder-width apart, their bodies relaxed, and their eyes closed. You will read the instructions to follow while observing the breath as it flows through your body.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation is another great activity to help students become aware of their bodies as you guide them through tensing and then relaxing their muscles from head to toe.


Mindfulness exercises give children the opportunity to be fully in the moment. Being mindful and focused on a task can help revive stress and trauma from the past, such as abuse or an absent family member, or worry about the future.

Just try this listening activity. Have your students sit quietly at their desks with their eyes closed. Ask her to quiet her mind and listen carefully to what is going on around her. Then set a timer for one minute. They might hear a clock ticking or a computer humming, the sound of their own breath going in and out of their bodies, or the chirping of birds outside the classroom. Encourage them to try to keep thoughts from interrupting their listening. When the time is up, ask students to pay attention to how their bodies and minds feel compared to before the activity.

Active mind-body exercises that you can try guide your students color search. Make a copy of this for each student to print out and have them search the classroom (or library, hallway or outside area, etc.) to find an item for each color listed on the sheet. The only catch? You must search independently and in silence so that everyone can work mindfully.

Guided imagination and relaxation

A great strategy to help children interrupt intrusive thoughts is guided imagery. Guided visualizations are typically scripted and can be recorded or read aloud. Read the script slowly in a quiet place without interruptions. You may want to listen to soft, relaxing music in the background as you read the script. Do what works best for your children.

try this simple relaxation exercise/guided visualization. Let your children sit calmly and comfortably in their chairs. Telling him to close his eyes and listen to the rhythm of his breathing as he follows your directions, which draws his attention to exploring and relaxing part by part of his body. Afterward, encourage them to remember what that relaxed state feels like when they’re feeling tense or worried, like before a big exam or when they have to visit a family member in the hospital.

Create or find scripts for other scenarios You can use them for guided images, e.g. B. for a ride in a hot air balloon, a walk in the forest or sitting by a babbling brook.

drawing and coloring

Drawing and coloring can be wonderful mind-body exercises to calm and focus your students. Take a break from the chaos of a whole day and put on soft music, dim the lights, and let your kids have fun creating something beautiful. You might even want to join! Being able to tap into the calm concentration that creating art requires will strengthen your students’ ability to self-soothe in turbulent situations such as going to school. B. when they are arguing with a friend or worried about not completing a task.

You can give to your students subscription requests B. “Draw a picture of yourself” or “Draw a favorite pet or animal” or “Draw your happy place”. Or give them copies of it mandalas to color or interesting expressions like this one.

Journaling mind-body exercises

Journaling can be a fun and relaxing mind-body exercise for your students. It has the added benefit of giving children a chance to process problems they are experiencing – losses, worries, arguments, dilemmas – as well as a chance to remember good experiences. Don’t put any limits on the content or format of their writing, just encourage them to express themselves however they like: they can make lists, write simple poems or essays or letters to send, or just jot down words or phrases.

Sometimes children don’t know where to start. If this is the case, they can appreciate being given prompts like “Things that make me happy (or sad or angry) are…” or “One of the best stories I’ve ever heard or read is…” or “My favorite place on earth is…”. The students started with lists of 10 favorite things.

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