Sometimes when we’re upset about something, we have a part of our body that feels upset, too. It is like we might have sad feelings, and we also have a tummy ache. Maybe we have angry feelings but we also notice that our hands and feet are all tight and if we’re not careful, we could use them to kick a garbage can or throw something. Can you all imagine that we have emotions and we also might hold those emotions in our body?
We’re going to take a moment to close our eyes and imagine this for a moment. Let’s try a fun one first. If you close your eyes and imagine that you are watching a really funny movie, and it makes you really happy, where does that happiness live in your body? Is it in your heart? Is it in your tummy? Is it everywhere? OK, let’s hear from you. Where do you feel it in your body when something is funny or when you’re really happy?
Let kids volunteer some ideas. Reinforce their thoughts.
Now, can you come up with at least one example of where you hold stress in your body (or “how your body gets tight when you’re upset)?
Allow a minute or so for comments.
Now just imagine if we could make that upset go away all by ourselves! We’re going to either look down at your desk or close your eyes, and we’re going to see if we can tighten the muscles in that area of the body where we hold stress (or “the part of your body that gets tight”)
We’re going to tighten it to the count of ten, and then we’re going to exhale and relax. We’ll do that three or four times.
Count out loud so students all do this together: “OK, ready? Tighten that part of the body, tighten, 3, 4, 5, keep tightening, 7, 8, 9, 10 and relax.
Repeat a few times.
Tune into that part of your body. Did that help it feel just a little more relaxed?
Ring your bell or cymbal to denote the beginning of this sharing time.
Allow students to take turns sharing their perspective. Encourage others to listen respectfully and wait their turn to speak.
We’ve designed these first couple of weeks with the program to give teachers insights that will be helpful in lowering student anxiety about being back at school.
For these first few days of school, it may pay off to give kids more time to reply. (This could also lead to more discussion times throughout the day as time or need arises.)
If you’d like to keep this activity to five minutes, consider coaching students on how to respond quickly yet thoughtfully.
Ring your bell or cymbal to denote the end of this sharing time.
Today if you feel upset about something, see if it helps to tighten your body while you count, and then to relax. See if you can help yourself calm down.
Who was able to calm themselves down today using our new activity? It’s pretty useful, isn’t it?
Allow for a popcorn type response if all together. If remote learning, consider a text or quick email to each of your students individually.