Deep Breathing Strategies

Teaching Deep Breathing

Why:

1.Breathing influences all other systems in our bodies. Slowing our breathing and being conscious of our breathing helps us to calm our nervous system. Therefore, this is a skill that students will need throughout their entire lives.

2. Easy to do anywhere – with no equipment- it is portable!

3. Produces a relaxed state of being

4. Can be calming

5. Improves oxygen to the brain which in turn improves our thinking ability

6. Provides us with a sense of control

  • How to Teach Deep Breathing:
  • Teach each technique – one at a time to the entire class when everyone is calm and in a good mood.
  • Show visuals of each technique and post them in a place where students can use them as reminders.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice at all times of the day. Students need lots and lots of practice so that the techniques can be used automatically in times of stress. It takes LOTS of practice to become an expert.
  • Teach students to recognize signs of stress, frustration, and anger such as face getting hot, clenched fists, heavy breathing, crying, sweating, scrunched eyebrows, pounding heart.
  • Teach students the difference between short, quick, shallow breaths and long, deep, calming breaths. We want students to be using deep breathing since short breaths can actually make anxious feelings increase.
  • Model and role-play different situations practicing self-talk such as “I am upset that he took my toy. I can breathe like a bear 7 times.” “I am nervous about the fire drill. I can take 7 bunny breaths.” “He cut in line. I can say, “It’s okay” and take 7 deep breaths.”
  • If students need energy, have them inhale for a count of 7 and breath out quickly- see lion’s breath in the document download.
  • If the students need to calm their minds and bodies, have them inhale for a count of 3 and exhale for a count of 6 or so (shorter inhale/longer exhale). See Calming Breaths in the document download.
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Author: DHonegger

Debra S. Honegger has worked in multiple areas of education- both general education and special education- as teacher, consultant, administrator and instructional coach- with ages from birth through adult. However, no matter where she is or what her title, she holds a firm belief in meeting the needs of each individual child while coming together as a community of learners.

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