Techniques to help students suffering with anxiety

Anxiety-related disorders are increasingly common among young people. Dr Pooky Knightsmith offers us five simple calming strategies that can be used in the classroom in SecEd

I would like to offer some practical strategies that you could try out with the children and young people in your care. Most of these can be adapted for students at a variety of ages and stages and are good for adults too. Each can be used either to try and instil calm at times of anxiety, or as a proactive calming measure ahead of more stressful situations.

You can talk through these strategies if they require calming, but you can also teach these ideas to students so they can use them themselves.

Finger breathing/take five

As well as a good strategy for individuals, this can be a great way to calm a whole class if you are transitioning in from busy break times. I have often taught it to large audiences at busy conferences and felt the energy change instantly.

Spread one hand out in front of you like a starfish. Place the forefinger of the other hand at the base of your thumb.

Slowly run your finger up your thumb as you breathe in.
Pause for a moment at the top of your thumb.
Then slowly run your finger down the other side of your thumb as you breathe out.
Pause again at the bottom of your thumb.
Repeat this for all fingers before shaking your hands out.

Read more strategies and tips for yourself and your class Techniques to help students suffering with anxiety 

What techniques do you use in your classroom to bring a rowdy class back down to earth or help lower anxiety levels? Please tell us your  thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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