2 minutes to help the anxious student

Did you know that mindfulness-based interventions and breathing exercises can have a very significant impact on people's mental health, regardless of age?

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Michèle Corbeil, psychologist and co-founder of Class-Zen

In November 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that globally, one in seven young people between the ages of 10 and 19 suffer from a mental disorder. This represents 13 % of this age group. The disorders include depression and anxiety. However, these numbers may be under-representative as many youth experience varying degrees of psychological distress without necessarily seeking help.

This is a reality that teachers experience on a daily basis. The psychological challenges have multiplied over time and can leave an unpleasant feeling of helplessness. There are solutions to help us better intervene with young people.

Did you know that mindfulness-based interventions and breathing exercises can have a very significant impact on people's mental health, regardless of age?

Just taking a few deep breaths can be extremely effective in lowering cortisol levels. And since cortisol and learning don't mix... why not?

Simply take two minutes with your students to do small exercises of refocusing, breathing, meditation, and returning to yourself. Whether it's after recess, before an exam, or after dinner, simply sit with your back straight, close your eyes and practice a breathing technique.

Here are some examples:

Cardiac coherence: 

This technique allows you to learn to control your breathing in order to regulate stress and anxiety. It is a question of balancing your breathing: five seconds on the inhale, five seconds on the exhale, which makes 6 breaths per minute. Ideally, the exercise is done 3 times a day, 6 breaths per minute, for 5 minutes. You can do the exercise for a shorter time for the little ones, say 2 or 3 minutes. You can find guides on YouTube or applications on the Internet to help you in the implementation of this breathing exercise.

The 4-7-8 breathing technique 

The 4-7-8 is an effective method because it provides more oxygen than normal breathing to the parasympathetic nervous system, which is very stressed. Here's how: inhale deeply to the count of 4; hold your breath to the count of 7; exhale to the count of 8. Repeat three times. Research shows that breathing exercises reduce stress and anxiety, help manage emotions such as anger and sadness, improve concentration and sleep.

Other refocusing techniques are offered free of charge on the Class-Zen.ca.

In addition :

(Re)read our Winter 2021-2022 issue of École branchée magazine: Teach the development of social and emotional skills

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