Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to teach 62 fourth grade students strategies to self soothe. We gathered in their ‘cafetorium’ in a large circle.
A girl entered the room quickly, sat next to me and started telling me how much stress she has in her life. Her voice was shaky and her pace was quick!
We started the class checking in with how our bodies and minds felt. “Pick a word that describes how you are feeling in this moment.” Then we took some deep belly breaths to calm the nervous system. “Big huge breath into the belly, filling it up like a balloon…. exhale and emptying the lungs completely.”
We did some mindful listening, moved our bodies mindfully and all relaxed on to the floor for an ‘imagination vacation.’ We imagined a cloud taking us on a journey to a safe, peaceful place.
We ended class all together with “peaceful thoughts, peaceful words, peaceful actions.” Then we chose a peaceful action that we could carry with us into the day.
The girl who started the day overwhelmed and overstimulated turned to me and said “I feel soooo good!” then shared about the peaceful place she went in her mind. She was calm, collected and focused.
Youth are CRAVING tools to self-soothe and there are many simple, effective and easy to access tools we can share with them that we all have inside us.
Have a beautiful day!