CoverIntroductionWellbeing and Its Importance in SchoolsWhat frameworks exist to promote school wellbeing?What is the best approach for my school/district?Valuable Tools and ConsiderationYour Call to ActionStudent Wellbeing InterventionsPositive Emotion Three Good ThingsCounting BlessingsEnvisioning Your Best Possible SelfUnderstanding HumorThree Funny ThingsOutdoor LearningBringing the Outside InBibliotherapyEngagementRecognizing and Utilizing Personal StrengthsARCS Model of CuriosityCarousel BrainstormingGenius HourPerspective Taking and Role-PlayArts IntegrationDrawing and Coloring TherapyCulturally-Enriching and Arts-Based Field TripsCulturally Responsive PracticesSocial Belonging InterventionEmotional Self-Regulation: RULER methodModeling Emotional Self-Regulation SkillsTeacher PraiseRelationshipsModeling Love, Kindness and ForgivenessActive Constructive RespondingDialogue JournalsSecret Strengths SpottingPeer Praise NotesActs of KindnessVolunteeringFast FriendsBuddy BenchMeaningEducating Students about Benefit AppraisalsGratitude LettersSavoring StrategiesTaking in the Good (HEAL)Mental Time TravelBrief Mindfulness ActivitiesMindful BellMindful BreathingBody Scan RelaxationMindful Walking/MovementFive Senses MindfulnessMindful PhotographyMindful Self-CompassionAccomplishmentFuture Thinking & When/Where PlansHope MapG-POWER Goal SettingEmbedded Self-Regulation StrategiesGrowth MindsetGrit and Deliberate PracticeDeveloping Students' Resilience and Coping SkillsHealth and VitalityHealthy Sleep HabitsClassroom Physical ActivityYogaCreative Playground EquipmentHealthy Body Image InterventionStudent-Led Health ProgramSchool-Led Interventions for Teachers and StaffSupporting Teacher AutonomyMindfulness TrainingCompassion TrainingHumor TrainingIncentivizing Physical ExerciseIndividual Interventions for School EmployeesPositive and Reflective JournalingSelf-Regulation and Coping StrategiesSelf-AffirmationSelf Compassion LetterDiscovering and Utilizing Character StrengthsJob CraftingMindfulnessAdditional Interventions to ConsiderDedicated Wellbeing SpacesIndividual Wellbeing Plans for School EmployeesOther ResourcesPROSPER

Mindful Breathing

Mindful breathing is a simple mindfulness activity that encourages students to focus on the sensations of their breathing. There are multiple variations of this activity that can be adapted to many grade levels. As part of the .b Mindfulness in Schools project, students are encouraged to practice 7/11 breathing, in which they count to seven while inhaling and to eleven while exhaling (TEDx Talks, 2013). For young students, Kira Willey recommends having them imagine they are a bear during hibernation, taking long, deep breaths in and out through their nose (TEDx Talks, 2018). The Greater Good Science Center, at the University of California-Berkeley, recommends having students trace their fingers while breathing, inhaling while tracing UP each finger, and exhaling as they trace DOWN it (Greater Good in Education, n.d.). The videos below, created by Headspace and Sesame Street include a few additional suggestions and guided mindful breathing exercises. 

Image preview of a YouTube video by Sesame Street on mindful breathing.
Watch on YouTube

Image preview of a YouTube video about mindful breathing.
Watch on YouTube

Grade Level: All
Materials: None
Duration: 5 minutes daily, or as needed. 
  1. Have students find a comfortable, relaxed sitting position
  2. Direct students to take slow, deep breaths. 
  3. Have students begin focusing on the sensations of their breath, in the abdomen, chest, throat, or nose.
  4. If students’ attention begins to wander instruct them to gently return their focus back to their breathing
  5. You may also have students count to a number (such as four or seven) while inhaling and repeat with exhaling. 
  6. Continue silent breathing for about 5 minutes.

Greater Good in Education. (n.d.). Finger tracing: Mindful breathing for students. Greater Good Science Center: University of California- Berkeley. 

TEDx Talks. (2013, February 14). Mindfulness in schools: Richard Burnett at TEDxWhitechapel [Video]. YouTube. 

TEDx Talks. (2018, January 10). Bite-sized mindfulness: An easy way for kids to be happy and healthy - Kira Willey TEDxLehighRiver [Video]. YouTube. 


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