Recently, I attended a professional development called Mindfulness-Based Interventions to Rewire the Brain. We learned about four different styles of meditation: Focus – voluntary control of attention and cognitive processes, Mindfulness – awareness of an ongoing experience; judgement free, Quiet Mind – automatic transcending while meditating, Open Heart – specific focus on an unrestricted readiness and availability to help all living beings
The styles I could see us implementing most often in the classroom setting are focus, mindfulness, and open heart. Below are some resources for these styles:
This site offers several breathing rooms to choose from. Deep/Belly breathing can greatly support focus and mindfulness in any environment. On the left side, click “enter” on the Universal Breathing Room. This offers a unique opportunity to practice deep breathing with others around the world. There is actually a map where you can see who is breathing with you. You can also modify the color or mantra that you want to focus on. Could you see using this with a student who is anxious, angry, or stressed? Could you see the benefits for yourself during a highly stressful time? I definitely could. I also really love the emphasis that people are connected.
You could download this on your phone, but it is more effective with a larger screen. These are mandalas that are intended to be traced like they are a labyrinth. The act of tracing with a finger or small object can quiet down the cingulate in the brain (stress/anxiety center). Our presenter suggested printing a few of these off and allowing students to trace prior to a quiz or test, or simply to help reduce stress or anxiety in the moment. Here
is some of the free art if you would like to try any with your students. You can also purchase colored, laminated ones on this website for under $5.
Writing something you are grateful for (and why) each night for two weeks can significantly decrease everyday stressors and/or depressive states. There are studies behind this that have brain activity data to back it up.