Mindfulness is a critical self-regulation strategy that can help kids and young adults feel calm and focused. Pairing mindfulness with journal writing just makes sense. Journal writing is personal and allows learners to connect with themselves. Additionally, it’s something kids can stop and do every day.
Mindfulness is an ideal practice in the morning to help kids and teens start their day off in a positive place. Practicing mindfulness can also be helpful before a big test, after a break, or when kids need strategies for self-regulation. Read up more on the 10 best times to practice mindfulness in the classroom.
There are several simple strategies to help learners practice mindfulness with journal writing. While you can read on and try any of the activities right away on your own, I also understand that it’s easy to be busy and struggle with fitting them all in. If you are needing all these and more no-prep ideas, I have put together an entire yearlong mindfulness journal that you can use right away.
Here are three simple strategies you can use right away with your learners to help them practice mindfulness:
What it is: Mindful focus is an activity where learners mindfully focus on one object for a period of time.
How to try it: Have kids choose one object in the room. Encourage them to hyperfocus on the object. Look at it and think about it for a few minutes. What does it look like? What colors does it have? Is it bumpy or smooth? How does it move? What is it used for? What makes it special? After the mindful focus activity, have students write about their object and sketch a picture.
Why it works: By focusing all of your attention on something, you are focusing only on the present moment. This can be a healthy strategy to help kids ground themselves in times of stress.
What it is: A guided visualization is an activity that involves picturing a calming scene, such as a beach or quiet meadow.
How to try it: Use a picture or describe a calming scene. It can be anything from a peaceful walk in the park to a calming waterfall in a forest. Have learners picture themselves in the scene. Then, allow them to write about what they see, feel, hear, smell, and taste.
Why it works: By picturing a peaceful scene, kids and young adults can clear their minds and regain a sense of calm. Visualization can be a healthy tool to use when feeling angry, sad, worried, or overwhelmed.
What it is: An emotions check-in is a free write about how someone is feeling and thinking
How to try it: Encourage kids to just close their eyes and think about how they feel. Consider every sensation in your body and thought that pops into your mind. Rather than judging those feelings, let them be. Notice them and recognize them. Then, have learners write about how they are feeling and thinking. As a simple alternative, you can have learners give colors to their emotions as they draw.
Why it works: Checking in with ourselves is an important strategy for improved self-awareness and mindfulness. By thinking about how we are feeling and thinking, we can make better choices about what we need
What it is: Students will draw a shape on their journal page and trace it as they breathe in and out.
How to try it: Have students draw a shape on their journal page. It can be any shape, such as a shape or a triangle. Students can even draw lines that wave up and down. Then, have students trace the lines of the shape with their finger or pencil as they breathe in and out. Afterward, students can write about the activity and describe how it made them feel. Use these free printable mindfulness breathe boards to get started.
Why it works: By focusing all of their attention on something as they breathe in and out, learners are practicing mindfulness while practicing deep breathing. This can be a helpful strategy to teach because it can be done almost anywhere.
What it is: Students will color a coloring page on their own.
How to try it: Explain to students that they will be practicing mindfulness by coloring. Discuss
Why it works: Coloring is an active way to calm the mind. Additionally, this strategy can help learners practice just doing something in a mindful way without focusing on what is “right” or “wrong.” This is particularly beneficial for
Just a reminder that you don’t need to be an expert to start a mindful practice in the classroom! Just use any of these ideas to give mindfulness a try! You might also want to read up on 5 free mindfulness activities or just grab the yearlong mindfulness journal to get started right away!