How to Lead a Mindful Breathing Exercise

Mindful breathing is a strategy that anyone can use to help them calm down, relax and relieve stress. Simply put, mindful breathing means that you are focusing your attention on your breath. We’ve listed a couple of exercises below that SEL facilitator, Susan Purcell-Orleck from Meigs Academic Middle, compiled for her students and staff. You can use these prompts to walk yourself, your students, or your colleagues through a mindful breathing exercise. For Susan’s full list of mindful breathing exercises, click here.

Exercise 1: Three Mindful Breaths

Sit up straight and tall … feet flat on the floor. Place your hands (palms down or palms up) on your desk or on your lap. Focus on a point on the floor or on your desk. Or, close your eyes.

Focusing on the breath, we will take three breaths … breathing in through the nose and out through the nose to the count of 8.

Breathe in - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8. Breathe out - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8.

Breathe in - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8. Breathe out - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8.

Breathe in - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8. Breathe out - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8.

Wiggle your fingers. Wiggle your toes. pen your eyes.

Exercise 2: Breathe in Calm

We will use diaphragmatic (or belly) breathing for this technique. As you breathe in, your stomach should inflate first. Then, the air fills up your lungs. Breathing out, you deflate your lungs first and then your stomach.

Breathe in through the nose to the count of 4 and out through the nose to the count of 4.

With each inhale, we will breathe in one positive thought. With each exhale, we will breathe out one negative thought.

Sit up tall … feet flat on the floor. Place your hands (palms down or palms up) on your desk or on your lap. Focus on a point, or close your eyes.

Let’s begin …

Breathe in calm, Breathe out anxiety.

Breathe in strength, Breathe out weakness.

Breathe in confidence, Breathe out worry.

Breathe in hope, Breathe out the past.

Breathe in kindness, Breathe out hurt.

Breathe in wisdom, Breathe out ignorance.

Breathe in peace, Breathe out conflict.

Breathe in acceptance, Breathe out doubt.

Breathe in joy, Breathe out stress.

Wiggle your fingers. Wiggle your toes. Open your eyes.

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