Most students some kind of stressful situation throughout the school year. One may be dealing with their parents’ divorce, another may have social issues, yet another might have anxiety over academics. These are just a few of the multitude of issues they may experience. Students cannot always connect their experience to their actual feelings going on inside their little bodies. Learn How to Help Students Handles Stress with Breathing Exercises.


Can you help students connect the dots? Further, can they connect those dots during daily moments when fear or paralysis take over? A forgotten lunch or paper. A test. Being put on the spot to quickly recall a math fact. Having to write a whole essay when a writing paragraph is hard.

The answer is a resounding YES! With our help!

But before we look at the how, we need to dig a little deeper. Think of a time when you forgot something at home that you absolutely needed for school. At that very moment, what did you do? You probably gasped, maybe froze. The whole ride to school or walk to your room, your mind raced and your muscles clenched. Obviously, you continued breathing but they were short and rapid breaths which, in turn, created a lack of proper oxygenation. This prompted the sending of a message to your brain which elicited a stress response. And the vicious cycle continued.


The American Institute of Stress ( states that when oxygen levels decrease, our parasympathetic system, which controls our rest and relax responses, cannot function properly. The solution is breathing but not just regular breathing. As an analogy, again consider the process of cleaning closets. Simply squishing a few items to the side doesn’t truly do the job. You really have to purge the old clothes. The same goes for lungs and breathing.


The American Lung Association ( states that over time, stale air builds up in our systems which leaves less room for new, fresh air to enter in. That stale air takes up space and restricts our diaphragms from working properly. In turn, oxygen levels decrease while one’s heart rate and blood pressure increase.


So how can we breathe in a way that’s different AND that stops the stress response from taking over? By practicing DEEP breathing. It is a calming and coping strategy that has been proven to be helpful for all ages. Here is how you can help your kiddos:

  1. Explain to students that everyone experiences stressful situations and we need to learn ways to handle them.
  2. Introduce your students to different breathing techniques. Show them visuals through posters and practice with them.
  3. Place colorful posters around the room for instant student use!
  4. Make the posters into cards and place them in a center, at each table, or even a set for each child.

With such simple reminders, these breathing strategies will become part of your student’s forever SEL toolbox!


Rockin Resources offers 60 SEL Breathing Strategy Posters that are both fun and attractive! They equip students with proven strategies to help push past stress triggers and paralyzing moments. Through use of shapes, colors, movement and imagination, students build breathing endurance which, in turn, stimulates the necessary relax response to keep their bodies functioning properly AND enables them to move forward, feeling energized and encouraged.

Just take a look:

  1. Bubble Breathing (5 variations)
  2. Elevator Breathing
  3. Belly Breathing
  4. Slo Mo (5 variations)
  5. Press the Pause
  6. Weather Report
  7. Be the Bubble
  8. 54321 Countdown (5 variations)
  9. Shoulder Rolls
  10. Mindful Meltaway
  11. Liner Up! (And Down) (5 variations)
  12. Lazy 8 Breathing
  13. Star Breathing
  14. Triangle Breathing
  15. Box Breathing
  16. Body Scan
  17. Breathing Hands
  18. Breathing Colors
  19. Squeeze and Release (5 variations)
  20. Brain Break (5 variations)
  21. Gratitude Break (5 variations)
  22. Rise Up
  23. Feel the Beat (5 variations)
  24. Rainbow Breathing
  25. Think Back (5 variations)
  26. Dragon Breathing

I hope you learned a little something today to help your students. Start breathing strategies today and help students become calm and cope through stressful situations!

Keep Rockin’,

Other ideas for calming in the classroom: Check out my Amazon Calming List! You will find:

  1. sensory stickers
  2. calming strips
  3. pop push sensory bubbles
  4. calm down kit
  5. sand timers
  6. calming corner ideas