It is important to teach individuals how to cope in stressful situations. One coping strategy that can be taught is deep breathing. Deep breathing engages the parasympathetic nervous system and is responsible for inducing “restful” or calm states. Deep breathing can help an individual calm down when they are anxious or upset. For learners who need help with learning how to breathe, we’ve provided some visual and concrete examples below. It is important to teach deep breathing when the individual is calm and to practice the skill daily.
Examples of Games or Activities to Help with Teaching Deep Breathing:
- Have a race.
Take a cotton ball each and have a race to see who can blow it across the table fastest.
- Make some art.
Put some globs of different colour paint (acrylic or water colour) onto a piece of paper and let the individual blow onto the blobs using a straw.
- Make smell jars.
Take a few small jars and put one cotton ball in each jar. Then put a couple of drops of whatever essential oils you like (e.g. orange, peppermint, lemon, cinnamon) and have fun smelling the jars and trying to figure out what each scent is.
- Make sounds using a harmonica or kazoo.
- Blow bubbles.
- ‘Smell the flower, blow out the candle’ visualization practice.
- ‘Smell the flower, blow out the pinwheel’ visualization practice.
- ‘Smell the cologne, blow out the candle’ visualization practice.
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