May 5, 2020
The following are a few examples of calming or mindfulness techniques students can practice at home:
Deep breathing: Deep breathing slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure and increases oxygen intake, which have a calming effect. Some common exercises are belly breathing and the 4-7-8 breathing exercise (inhale for four count, hold for seven, exhale for eight). Example
Grounding: Grounding can distract students’ mind from their anxiety and keep them grounded in the present. Common grounding exercises include the 5-4-3-2-1 senses technique (five things you can see, four things you can feel, etc.), counting how many things in different shades of a particular color can you see around the room and counting backward by 7, starting at 100. Example
Imagery: Imagery involves creating a detailed mental image of a safe and peaceful place. As students imagine being in that space, they redirect attention away from what is stressing them and toward an alternative focus. Example
Progressive muscle relaxation: Progressive muscle relaxation is the practice of tightening one muscle group at a time followed by a relaxation phase with release of the tension. Students tense and relax the muscle groups one at a time in a specific order, beginning with the lower extremities and ending with the face. Example
Positive self-talk and affirmations: Positive self-talk helps students challenge self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. Students can practice using milder wording through journal writing, negative thought stopping or snapping a rubber band during negative thoughts. You can help students select affirmations that speak to them. When students repeat the affirmations, and believe them, they can start to make positive changes. Example
Journaling: Journaling helps students clarify their thoughts and feelings, thereby gaining valuable self-knowledge. Students can process their anxiety by fully exploring and releasing the emotions involved. By engaging both hemispheres of the brain, journaling allows the experience to become fully integrated within one’s mind. Example
Desk yoga: Neck rolls, cat-cow stretch, shoulder shrug, triceps stretch, seated twist and the seated pigeon pose are all exercises students can discreetly practice at their desk. Example
Resources were cited from: ASCA
March 25, 2020
Without a doubt, many of us are feeling anxious as we navigate the uncertainty of COVID-19. We’re feeling it too, and we wanted to share some of the tools we’re using to take care of our minds and stay grounded.
Relaxing Breathing Exercise
Inhale slowly through the nose to the count of three. Place your attention on the expansion of your chest and the sound of your breath.
Pause at the top of your inhale for another two seconds. Rather than holding your breath think of it as resting your breath. (The idea of holding often causes us to tense up, and we want to try to relax before the exhale).
Now slowly exhale and let go of all of the air in your lungs for a count of six, keeping your jaw relaxed.
Keep going for a few more rounds.