Just Breathe

By Rebekah Anderson, School Counselor

One of the quickest and easiest ways to calm a racing mind or a beating heart is through breath. When we calm or slow down our breath, we calm our adrenaline. We can’t be anxious and calm at the same time. I’d like to offer a few breathing techniques that can support adults and children alike when you want to soothe emotions and feel calm.

Box Breathing
1. Close your eyes. Breath in through your nose while counting to 4 slowly. (In, 2, 3, 4)
2. Hold your breath while slowly counting to 4. (Hold, 2, 3, 4)
3. Begin to slowly exhale for 4 seconds. (Out, 2, 3, 4).
4. Repeat Steps 1-3 at least 3 times or until calm.

1-2-3 Clap!
1. Open your arms out really wide.
2. Count 1, 2, 3 and clap your hands one time.
3. Rub your hands together and make some energy.
4. Put your hands on your belly. Take a long breath in, and let it all out.
5. Open your arms out really wide again.
6. Count 1, 2, 3 and clap your hands one time.
7. Rub your hands together, faster this time. Make some energy. Feel the warmth.
8. Put your hands over your heart.
9. Take a long breath in, and let it all the way out.
10. Repeat as needed.
*Younger children especially love this one!

Breathe In-Breath Out
This is one of my favorites. I use this often for myself. It is perfect for when you are feeling an emotion that you would like to release and replace. Let’s say that you are feeling anxious and want to feel calm….
1. Close your eyes.
2. Place your hands on your heart.
3. While breathing in a deep, slow breath, say in your mind (or out loud if you are guiding a child through it): “Breathe in calm.”
4. While breathing out a slow, deep breath, say in your mind (or out loud if you are guiding a child through it): “Breathe out anxiety.”
*You are breathing out whatever you want to release and breathing in the positive emotion, choosing what you want to invite in. Say the words to yourself as you breathe in and out
Other examples:
1. Breathe in Love. Breathe out Fear.
2. Breathe in Peace. Breathe out Worry.

Additional Resources(Can be purchased from Amazon)

“Just Breathe: Meditation, Mindfulness, Movement, and More” by Mallika Chopra
*Great for all ages and adults

“Breathe Like a Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime, Anywhere” by Kira Willey
*Great for under 5 and lower elementary

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