Focus and Attention
6 practices for grades 6-12
These practices help students train their attention by listening to sounds and feeling the sensations of the breath. Through repeated practice, students will be able to focus better and be more aware of the quality of their attention.
Mindful Position - Chair
Practice Description: A mindful position is a way of sitting which sends a message to your brain that you are paying attention in an alert, yet relaxed way. It can be used to naturally calm your mind and body.
Practice Description: In this exercise we will practice paying attention to sounds, which are everywhere and constantly changing. Sounds provide an alternative for those who do not find paying attention to the breath comfortable or easy.
Practice Description: This practice is designed to cultivate connection with others, and to bring intentions of kindness and comfort for ourselves, especially when life’s emotions pull us down. The phrases are meant to plant seeds within us for safety, happiness, good health and peace.
I am Calm Breathing
Practice Description: This breathing practice can be used to calm strong emotions. By making our exhale twice as long as our inhale, our body signals its nervous system to go into a more relaxed state. This state gives us access to our executive functions where we have the ability for our most flexible thinking and can make more intentional choices regarding our behaviors.
Compassionate Body Scan - Chair
Practice Description: The body scan can be used to develop our ability to pay attention over long periods of time while also cultivating a stronger connection to our bodies. The body scan can be used when lying down at night to help turn off our mind so we can fall asleep more easily.
Soles of the Feet
Practice Description: This practice can be used to help ground our attention and stay focused during conversations, while giving a presentation, taking a free throw or performing in a concert. Planting our feet like the roots of a tree can keep our mind in the present and our thoughts from unraveling. It may help to focus primarily on what we are feeling while also remaining aware, but to a lesser degree, on the people we are with.
Practice Description: The mindful jar activity can be used to help focus attention and calm strong emotions. Shake the jar, watch the glitter as it settles, and take some time to be still.
Download this fact sheet to learn how to make your own mindful jar.
Practice Description: A Hoberman sphere, or breathing ball, can be an anchor for mindful breathing to help focus thoughts or calm down. Focus on the ball and breathe in and out as the ball expands and contracts.
Download this fact sheet to learn about Hoberman spheres and different ways to use them.