Refocusing Strategies

Back to Back

Have students sit on the floor back to back. One student begins by inhaling deeply. The other partner should feel the expansion in their partners back as they breathe deeply. Take turns back and forth.


Have students balance on one foot, close eyes and take deep breaths for 30 seconds. Switch feet and do the same on the other side

Balloon Breathing

Sitting in a comfortable position, have students place their hands around their mouth as if they were about to blow up a balloon. Take a deep breath in through their nose and, as your slowly exhale through their mouth, start to spread their hands out as if they are blowing up a great big balloon. Hold their hand position as you inhale again and then spread their hands further as you exhale. Once their balloon is as big as it can be, gently sway from side to side as they release their balloon up into the sky


Have students practice a deep inhale and then slowly exhale as they blow bubbles.Sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Begin by imagining you are holding a bubble wand. Breathe in deeply and then, as you breathe out slowly and gently, imagine you are blowing bubbles into the room. Imagine the bubbles are filled with peace or love or happiness and that you are filling the whole room with a peaceful, happy feeling. As you keep breathing slowly and blowing your imaginary bubbles, feel your body become calm and relaxed.

Bumble Bee Breathing

Have students get into a comfortable sitting position and close their eyes. Focus on listening to their breathing. Feel the air entering in through their nose, filling up their lungs and blowing out of their mouth. Inhale slowly through their nose. Have them place their fingers gently on their ears to close off external sound. Breathe out through their mouth, saying “buzzzzzzzzzzz” for as long as they can. Repeat. Try a different sound such as “hummmmmmm” or “ohhhhhhhhh”. Repeat the bumble bee breathing until their body is calm and relaxed. 


Have students visualize colors while focusing on their breath. Inhale a deep green, and exhale a smoky gray. Have the students imagine the colors as swirling and alive with each inhale. 

Elephant Breathing

Have students stand with their feet wide apart and their arms dangling in front of their body like an elephant’s trunk. As they breathe in deeply through their nose, raise their arms up high above their head. Then slowly swing their arms down again as you breathe out through their mouth.

Energizing Breath

Have students pant like a dog with their mouths open and their tongues out for 30 seconds, continuing for another 30 seconds with their mouths closed as they take short belly breaths with one hand on the belly. Have them take three energizing pant breaths per second. After a full minute, the students return to four regular deep inhales and exhales.

Five Finger Breathing


Have students spread their hand and stretch their fingers out like a star. Using the pointer finger trace around the outline of your fingers. Have them start at the bottom of their thumb and slide their finger up, pause at the top, then slide their finger down the other side. Continue tracing all fingers. While tracing breathe in through your nose while sliding up and breathe out through your motuh while sliding down. 

Hobermann Sphere


Have students slowly inhale while you slowly expand the Hoberman sphere and then exhale as you slowly shrink the sphere back to its original size. 

Rise and Fall

Have students breathe in and out through their noses, have them lie on the floor and place an object on their stomachs, enhancing their focus by watching the rising and falling of their belly.


The use of sound is very powerful for engaging a calm response. In the three classrooms where I teach, we use rain sticks, bells, chimes, and music. 

The Deep-Dive Breath

Have students inhale for four counts, hold for four, and exhale slowly for four counts.