5 Tips to Reduce Stress & Promote Mindful Breathing

Students are stressed.  Parents are stressed.  Teachers are stressed.  What can we do?

With so much riding on test results these days, teachers are feeling the pressure more than ever before.  Teacher evaluations and a teacher's self-esteem can be affected by student test scores.  That pressure is often passed on to the students.  We need to arm our students with the tools to cope with anxiety and stress.

Top 5 Ways to Knock out Stress & Test Anxiety

1.  Breathe - Take deep breaths before a test to calm down and oxygenate the brain.
2, Positive Mental Rehearsal - Imagine yourself acing the test.
3. No Negative Thoughts - Don't allow yourself to dwell on the possible negative outcomes. 
4. No Perfectionism - Allow yourself to be human and make mistakes.  Don't get caught up on how much more you could have done.
5. Take care of your body by eating healthy and exercising.  Your body is like a machine that needs to be fueled with healthy foods so that it can perform at maximum capacity.  You wouldn't put dirty fuel into a race car just before a big race!

Practice Mindful Breathing with your students!
Mindful breathing is a calm breathing technique that allows thoughts to come and go without judgement.  Begin by sitting up straight and closing your eyes.

When we are stressed, we tend to breathe through our chest.  It is important to be mindful of where you are taking in air in your body.  In order to get more oxygen, we should be taking in a big "belly" breathe.  If you place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly, the belly should be moving in and out during a breath rather than the chest.  It sounds easy, but it does take practice.  Being mindful of this first crucial step to better breathing will lead you to a calmer state of mind.

Once you have mastered the belly breathing concept.  Try the 4-7-8 technique developed by Dr. Weil, with your students.

When I was a teacher, I started having panic attacks.  This breathing technique, coupled with the 4-7-8 technique helped me so many times when I felt overwhelmed.  I hope it helps you and your students too!

Need some stress reduction activities for your classroom or office?

Click here to see this foldable activity.

Click here to open link to Stress Busters
Click for Test Stress Busters