Learning how to cope with stressful situations and everyday challenges is an important life skill for all children and youth. All children and youth experience stress to varying degrees as a result of situational challenges (e.g. taking a test, entering a noisy environment, being teased, completing a difficult assignment, etc.). Feeling stressed and anxious can negatively impact student learning (e.g. difficulty concentrating) and everyday functioning (sleeping, eating, and socializing).
Mindfulness, yoga and relaxation approaches are found to be promising practices in school settings for improving coping abilities and reducing anxiety.1,2 Such practices help students 'step back' from stressful situations by teaching them how to purposefully and non-judgmentally 'be in the moment'.3 Kabat-Zinn (2003) suggests that mindfulness helps calm and clear the mind and help focus attention.4
Refer to the Offer Calm Moments tab for simple suggestions and resources. Think about how you can embed these in your daily interactions with students.
Coming soon! The Calm Moments Cards: Simple Strategies to Promote Well-being Throughout the Day will be available in this Embedded Strategies tab. These downloadable cards will provide a variety of strategies (thinking, mindfulness, and sensory) that school providers can implement specific to school stressors (e.g. taking a test, entering a noisy auditorium, etc.).
How to promote mindfulness?
Consider embedding whole-class and/or whole school mindfulness strategies during transitions or before tests. These activities can be as short as 1-2 minutes or as long as 5-10 minutes. Important calming strategies include: deep breathing, yoga, short meditations, sensory strategies, creative arts activities, and time spent in green spaces.
Whole school training:
1 Zoogman, S., Goldberg, S. B., Hoyt, W. T., & Miller, L. (2014). Mindfulness interventions with youth: A meta-analysis. Mindfulness. doi: 10.1007/ s12671-013-0260-4
2 Wall, R. B. (2005). Tai chi and mindfulness-based stress reduction in a Boston public middle school. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 19(4), 230-237.
3 Rempel, K. D. (2012). Mindfulness for children and youth: A review of the literature with an argument for school-based implementation. Canadian Journal of Counseling and Psychotherapy, 46(3), 201-220.
4 Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 144–156. doi:10.1093/clipsy/bpg016