How Teachers Can Help Students Process Stress: Break And Breathe – Michael Grinder & Associates

How Teachers Can Help Students Process Stress: Break and Breathe

Right now, our students are under more stress than ever. That’s why teaching children easy stress management tips is essential to help them feel relaxed and ready to learn.

This clip explains the physiology of why moving when recovering from stress (Break and Breathe) is more effective than breathing without moving your body.


[Teacher] I was sitting at my desk watching my sixth-grade students come in from lunch. “So far, so good.” I thought.

Then, Trevor stomped into our classroom, swearing under his breath and avoiding eye contact. He was obviously upset.

Several of his friends said, “Cool it, bro!”

Well, that didn’t help.

I felt myself start to tense up. It was almost hard to breathe.

I wanted to get Trevor to calm down, but to tell the truth, I wasn’t feeling too calm myself.

Luckily, I remembered about Break and Breathe.

Here’s how Break and Breathe works

I stood up. I moved behind my chair and took a couple of slow, deep breaths.

Trevor’s friend Atticus told him, “Come on, man. Just count to 10.”

“That’s what my counselor told me,” Trevor replied. “But when somebody says bad stuff about my family, well, I’m too mad to think about counting.”

I knew I had to do something, so I said, “Let’s do an experiment. You know, we all get upset sometimes. Everybody, think of a time when you were upset and then stand up.”

It took a few moments, but they all stood up.

I told them, “Now, take a deep breath and at the same time, step back or step to the side, whatever, just move. Then take another deep breath.”

We all did this. Me too. Some kids grinned.

“What happened?” I asked.

Trevor spoke first. “I don’t know why, but I feel a little better. Oh, I think I forgot to breathe.”

“That’s okay,” I said, “Movement helps you breathe.”

We practiced this break and breathe exercise a few more times, and it became something we stood up and did every day after lunch: Break, take a step, breathe, and take another deep breath.

Want to learn more?

Check out Michael Grinder’s latest on-demand course, Metabolism, for in-depth strategies to help your students regulate their stress and emotions.

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