Mindfulness grounding activities for the classroom or your personal practice, to help when anxiety and stress arise

Posted on August 18 2016

If you are a classroom teacher or community leader and you work with children, teach them these grounding activities so they can use them when they feel anxious or stressed.  Try them yourself, too!  Focusing your attention away from the emotional triggers and towards an activity that helps to settle your emotions, helps us make wiser choices in how we react to difficult situations.

  1. Grounding Using Your 5 Senses:  Look around you and find…
  • 5 things you can see
  • 4 things you can hear
  • 3 things you can touch
  • 2 things you can smell
  • 1 thing you can taste
  1. Rectangle Breath:
  • With eyes closed or soft gaze downward, picture a rectangle in your mind
  • Focus your attention on the lower left corner of the imaginary rectangle
  • Take a deep inhale as you travel up the left side of the triangle for a count of 5
  • Hold your breath at the top left corner for a count of 3
  • Exhale through the nose as you glide across the top for a count of 5
  • Hold your breath at the top right corner for a count of 3
  • Inhale as you travel down the right side of the rectangle to the lower right corner for a count of 5
  • Hold your breath here for a count of 3
  • Exhale as you slide across the base to the count of 5 to return to the starting point
  • Repeat if needed
  1. Listening Game

 Sitting in stillness can be very powerful. You’ll need a bell, percussion chime, singing bowl, or any other type of chime that creates a sound that resonates.  Ask your students to find a comfortable seated position where they won’t feel the need to fidget or move around. They can close their eyes or lower their gaze downward. Ring the bell and silently listen to the sound the chime emits. When they can no longer hear the sound, they can silently raise their hand.  If time allows, continue this activity by sitting for an additional minute to listen to all the sounds that are occurring around them.  If willing, have them share what they heard.  Point out all the sounds that were noticed when sitting in silence, that most likely would have been missed if they were going about their usual daily routine.


Interested in more mindfulness ideas? Check us out on our website and sign up for our newsletter by following the links below.

Laura Zimmer- Author/Creator of The Beginner's Mind Mindfulness Teaching Toolkit - A mindfulness curriculum for elementary children.


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