In my last post, I shared some techniques for introducing mindfulness into the classroom setting in order to give the students a “brain reset” in the middle of the day. This week, I’d like to share a few more techniques that can help students get in touch with their bodies and the present moment, and help ease the restlessness the second half of the school day tends to bring.
Remember, these techniques work best when students are asked to move away from their desk, as a refreshing break from desk-work. It also helps to call this something like “mindful minutes” or “mindful reset”, so students recognize this term as a cue to do a non-academic, special activity. It can be a time, they can count on every day, a time to reset their brain and ease discomfort.
Here are a couple more mindfulness techniques to practice with the students:
- Noticing with the Senses- tell the students they will be practicing using all of their senses to notice this moment in time.
- Sight: Notice what you see in front of you. Pay attention to it; what does it look like? Is there anything you didn’t notice about it before? Notice the color, shape, depth, texture, and distance (how far is it from you). Ask them to keep observing for a minute or so.
- Sound: What are you hearing? If it’s quiet, what things break the silence? What sounds, no matter how quiet, do you hear? Are their sounds in the classroom? Outside the window? In the hallway? Sit with the sounds for a minute.
- Smell: What do you smell? Does it remind you of anything? What kind of smell is it, strong or very light?
- Taste: What do you taste? What does your tongue feel like in your mouth?
- Touch: What feelings do you feel in your body? Notice your body on the chair/floor/etc. What does it feel like where your butt meets the chair? What do your legs feel like, are they on the floor? Where are your hands, and what sensations do you feel in your hands? What parts of your body are touching each other? Where do you feel pressure, and which parts feel light?
- Muscle Relaxation: have the students sit in a chair with their feet on the floor. Ask them to tense and un-tense each muscle, from head to toe.
- Start with raising eyebrows, and holding the forehead scrunched that way for about 5 seconds. Really tense it as hard as you can.
- Then release it, breathing out and feeling the muscles relax and fall softly.
- Take one deep breath.
- Repeat this instruction for each body part: scrunching nose, smiling wide, scrunching up shoulders, flexing arms, clenching fists, tensing stomach, squeezing upper legs together, flexing calves, and finish with scrunching the toes.
- Each tensing should last about 5-7 seconds. Breathe between each step.
- At the end, ask the students to take a minute to scan their body from head to toe in their minds, noticing how everything feels
Try these activities along with the others we recommended in our last email (the content can also be found at http://www.thesalinepost.com/health/health-wise-mindfulness-classroom). Let the students learn these different types of mindfulness exercises and ask them which they like best!
As always, thanks for reading!