Feelings of stress and anxiety can be overwhelming for anyone, but especially children who may not know how to handle these complex feelings yet. Breathing exercises are a form of mindfulness for kids and can help them pause and overcome these feelings, not to mention they are quick, easy and free! Below we have listed some different breathing exercises for your students and/or children (you may want to use them yourself!).
These three steps make up one breath. Repeat the cycle at least four times.
- Inhale through your nose while counting to four in your head.
- Hold your breath while mentally counting to seven.
- Exhale completely while counting to eight in your head.
Square breathing is also called “box breathing”. Imagine a square in your mind while doing this exercise or for really young kids you can have them looking at a drawing of a square. Repeat at least four times or until calm.
- Focus on the top left corner of the square. Inhale through your nose for four counts, imagining moving across the top edge to the top right corner.
- Hold the breath for four counts while you imagine moving down the right edge of the square.
- “Move” from the bottom right corner of the square to the bottom left corner in four counts while exhaling through your mouth.
- Hold for four counts while imagining moving up the left edge of the square.
Five Finger Breathing
- Hold your left hand in front of you with your fingers spread apart. Take the index finger on your right hand and place it at the bottom of your left thumb.
- Inhale for three seconds while moving your index finger up the side of your thumb.
- Exhale slowly for three counts while moving your index finger down the other side of your thumb.
- Repeat this for the rest of your fingers, and then do it on your other hand!
This breathing exercise can be done standing or sitting.
- Slowly inhale through your nose while raising your arms from beside your body to above your head.
- When your palms touch, imagine you are a tall mountain. If you are standing, push your feet into the floor. You are strong, sturdy and tall.
- Slowly exhale through your mouth while bringing your hands (palms still together) in front of your chest.
- Repeat this at least five times.