Evidence That It Works
Mindful breathing is a core mindfulness practice, and research with adults suggests that breath-counting, specifically, can improve mood and reduce mind wandering. Further, a review of 24 mindfulness studies with K-12 students indicates that mindfulness can increase students’ ability to focus and bolster their resilience to stress.
Why Does It Matter?
“Mindful breathing” is a simple process—one that involves observing the breath and redirecting attention to the breath when the mind wanders—and is a tool that students can easily use when faced with a stressful situation.
This particular activity gives students an anchor for their attention—their breath—a place to focus when they might feel carried away by emotions. However, students also receive additional supports with mindful breathing as they practice: 1) breath counting and 2) following the rising-and-falling movement of their bellies under their hands. These components come together to help students focus their attention while potentially easing their stress and/or anxiety.