Simple Mental Health Activities: For Use in the Classroom

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1 Simple Mental Health Activities: For Use in the Classroom

2 K-5

3 Cat Relaxation Scale Purpose: To encourage children to recognize their level of stress and incorporate relaxation techniques. Prep Work: Print worksheet and have children chose their level of stress before and after a relaxation activity. From: MindMasters Program

4 Feelings Thermometer Purpose: To encourage children to recognize their level of stress and incorporate relaxation techniques. Prep Work: Print worksheet and have children chose their level of stress before and after a relaxation activity.

5 Retrieved from:

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7 Pizza Massage Purpose: To encourage children to deal with their stress in appropriate ways. Activity: Guide children in massage partner activity using pizza idea. Switch partners. (Modify to meet the needs of your school/class regarding touch, etc.) Source: Fun Friends

8 Getting the BIG Perspective: Hot Air Balloon Ride Guided Imagery Helping kids get to a cool, calm and collected state when they are upset or worried about something, supports them in seeing all the possible options to a situation and to pick the one that feels best. When emotions run high, our efficiency at problem solving lessens or shuts down entirely. Therefore, relaxation techniques, and returning to a calm state of mind greatly increases the chances of finding many solutions and identifying potential options. Try out this guided imagery script when your young one is struggling with a situation that he does not like or would like a chance to determine what the options might be towards a solution. Hot Air Balloon Ride Script Go ahead and close your eyes and allow yourself to relax into the present moment. Begin to pay attention to a body part that you don t usually pay attention to, like the space between your toes or the skin behind your ears. Focus on that part, noticing how it feels, checking in with it for the first time today. Good. Now take a slow deep breath, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Take one more breath, in through your nose, letting it escape out through your mouth. Beautiful! Now think about a current situation that you do not like or would like to have a solution to. See yourself standing in the middle of the situation or in the middle of the question you have. Now look up ahead in front of you. Sitting there is a giant hot air balloon, waiting just for you!!!! It is a gorgeous, brilliant color, the perfect color for you today! Or maybe it has a picture on the outside. Imagine it just as you would like it to be, decorating it in a special way so that you know the balloon is for you. Now, step out of the situation picture you were in, knowing you can come back to it in a bit. Walk over to the hot air balloon and get inside the basket. Gently allow the balloon to take you up, up, up and far up into the sky. You are now floating way above your situation, the one you want a solution for. You are no longer part of the situation, but can still see yourself in it. You have the ability to see many different options. You begin to feel yourself have a BIG picture viewing point. You can see all of the other things related to the situation. You can now see the situation from many different angles, from way up above the earth, you are looking down on the situation. What do you see that might be different? What do you see about yourself in the situation? What are all of your options? Allow any new ideas about it to gently come into your mind. Now, imagine that your balloon, safe, secure, and comfy balloon, carries you a little into the future beyond the current time of the situation. What would the future you want yourself to know about the situation that you are looking down upon? What would be important about it? Listen to what your wise future self has to say. Now that you have listened to your wise future self and you have gathered the options that are available to you about the situation, allow your balloon to carry you gently back down to the ground. You are now ready to face the situation with the cool, calm and collected you, knowing that you carry the BIG picture with you. Gently allow your attention to come back to the space you are in. Wiggle your toes, rub your hands slowly together, warming them and lightly place them over your eyes. You can open your eyes when you are ready. Now that your child has gotten a BIG picture look at the situation, invite him to discuss it with you over a theme- related hot air balloon snack

9 Bubble Breathing Activity Purpose: To encourage children to take slow deep breaths as a way to deal with stress, anxiety, and hard feelings. Prep Work: Print template and attach to individual containers of bubbles. Follow the prompts on the template.

10 Yoga Sun Salutation: Yoga is a great way to address childrens physical and mental wellbeing at the same time. Great for all kids mental wellness!

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15 Stress: The Facts of the Matter The word stress is used to describe the body s physical response to demands placed on it. Stress is an ever-present element in our lives. Our day is filled with events that are capable of producing stress within us (taking a test, watching a scary movie, speaking in front of a group, taking a penalty shot in a hockey game, telling your parents you broke a lamp, having a friend say something mean to you). Sometimes the stress causing events are real (taking a test, etc.). Sometimes the stress causing events are imagined (fear of the dark, etc.) Stress can range from the small stress that might come with preparing for a sports competition to more overpowering stress, such as the death of a loved-one. Stress can be negative BUT, it can have a positive side too! Stress is present in the downhill skier as she races down the hill OR in the eye of an actor, waiting for the curtain to open. The negative side of stress can cause us to make poor choices in difficult situations. The positive side of stress can be motivating. The main goal is to learn how to manage or handle stress and use it to your advantage. Coping with the Physical Sides of Stress Breathing exercises: Proper breathing is the first, and easiest, way for a person to calm down. Inhale through your nose while you count to four; exhale through your mouth while you count down from four to one. Repeat. (DON T TAKE IN TOO MUCH AIR TOO QUICKLY BECAUSE IT CAN MAKE YOU FEEL LIGHTHEADED & DIZZY) Muscle relaxation: Progressive muscle relaxation helps us to relax tense muscles. Begin with a few repetitions of the breathing exercise, to help you relax. Then, beginning with the toes and foot, tense the muscles so that you can feel tightness in the foot area. Let go and relax. Continue with this tightening and relaxing through the rest of your body areas, all the way to the face and neck. Finally, tighten ALL the regions and hold for a few seconds. Relax all the regions. Be sure to check, so that every part of the body is relaxed. Mind relaxation: There are a number of ways to calm our minds when we feel stress: 1. Recall a difficult past situation that ended well..this will help reduce tension. 2. Grab a CD. Listening to gentle music can relax your mind AS WELL AS reducing your heart rate and blood pressure. 3. Use imagery. Close your eyes and imagine that you are at your favorite place (at a beach, in your house at Christmas time, doing a sport that you love). As you are imagining, feel, hear and smell what it is like at your favorite place. Helping your body to burn the stress chemicals: Exercise is an easy way to help your body burn up the adrenaline surge that stress has created. A 30 minute walk (or other similar activity) will trigger the release of brain chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals help to relax us and, rid our body of adrenaline. Other endorphin producing things are: chocolate, helping others, being outside, music and laughing. (Source Unknown)

16 3 Instant Relaxation Exercises for Busy People Take a break and de-stress with these instant relaxation exercises. Stress can wreck havoc on your energy levels, your emotions, and your health. While you can't avoid stress, you can practice relaxation and deal with stress more effectively. On this page you will learn three instant relaxation exercises - Full Breath Technique, Easy Technique, and I am Relaxed Technique. The most effective relaxation is simply being in the present moment. See, the only thing you really have is the present moment. This is when you are truly alive and relaxed. In the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not here, your personal power, your peace is in the present moment. That's what instant relaxation exercises on this page are all based on. They are based on you being in the present moment, paying full attention to your surroundings, your body, or your breath. If you don't have time for relaxation or meditation, try these instant relaxation exercises. They are simple - yet powerful. Full Breath Instant Relaxation This quick relaxation can be done sitting, standing, or lying down. This technique focuses on the power of your full breath to induce deep relaxation and feelings of calm. This is how it is done: To begin, exhale deeply, letting all the air out from your lungs and from your abdomen. Inhale slowly, expanding the abdomen. Continue inhaling as you expand the middle chest. Continue inhaling as you expand the upper chest. Hold for a few seconds. Exhale in reverse order, slowly and smoothly. Continue for as long as it feels comfortable. Focus your mind on your inhales and exhales. Be gentle with yourself. Easy Technique Great technique for when you are feeling overwhelmed, out of control, and need something to calm you down on the spot. It can be done sitting or standing. Here is how it's done: Look around and name 5 things that you see. Name 5 things that you hear. Start over and name 4 things that you see (they can be the same ones that you named before). Name 4 things that you hear. Then - 3 things that you see and 3 things that you hear. Continue with 2 things that you see and 2 things that you hear. For the last round, name 1 thing that you see and then 1 thing that you hear. "I am Relaxed" Instant Relaxation Exercise With this exercise, you combine the relaxing power of breathing with an affirmation "I am Relaxed". This has two instant benefits: 1. through your breath you quiet your body and 2. with the affirmation you quiet your mind. You can do this standing, sitting, or lying down. To do this relaxation exercise: You can keep your eyes open or you can close your eyes. Bring attention to your breath. When you inhale say to yourself "I am" When you exhale say to yourself "Relaxed". Breathe in - "I am". Breath out - "Relaxed". Continue breathing and repeating the affirmation for a few rounds. Let your breath move gently through your body. If your mind wanders off, just come back to your breath and the affirmation. While these are instant relaxation exercises, the more you practice them, the more relaxed you will feel. Retrieved from:

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20 Photo Booth Activity Purpose: To encourage youth to think about their futures in a positive and fun way. Can be used with the Hats On for Mental Heath idea or goal setting. Prep Work: Print props from the following website: and mount (glue stick, spray adhesive, etc ) onto foam core board or heavy cardstock. Cut out and attach a dowel or skewer as a handle.

21 Positive Mental Focus Worksheet: Unknown Source Activity: Use worksheet to help children/youth think in positive ways.

22 Mental Health Notes Purpose: To reduce stigma in youth discussing mental health and emotional wellness. Activity: Use envelope and note templates (attached) or work as a class to create positive messages for students to pass on.

23 Mental Health Notes

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25 NOTES Quotes retrieved from Pinterest

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Breathing deeply utilizes the natural breathing muscle from the diaphragm and releases natural endorphins.

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