3 Breaths, 10 Seconds 

3_Breaths_10_Sec.jpgOverview: In this activity, students will practice a simple yet powerful calming technique that can be used anywhere at any time. Students discuss the importance of taking the time to breathe in order to give their brain time to stop and think before making an important decision about their behavior.

Time: 10 minutes           

Grades: pre-K - 8

Concepts: Self Control, Peace

Social Skills: Assertion, Responsibility, Self Control


  • Students will visualize places and things that help them feel calm and peaceful.
  • Students will practice a calm breathing technique.
  • Students will learn the value of using Self Control.


  • Narrative


  • Explain to the students that you will be telling them a story and ask them to follow along in their imagination; to create their own mind movie as you speak. Ask the students to close their eyes or put their heads down on the desk. To help them feel comfortable having their eyes closed, assure them that even though you will be walking around the room, you will not be touching them and will be watching to make sure everyone is safe.
  • Ask the students to take a slow, calming breath. Provide an example of breathing in through the nose, then out through the mouth slowly. Have students practice their breath a few times. Explain that during the story, you would like them to breathe normally, but to listen carefully because you will be asking them to take that calming breath a few times. Begin the story:
    • Imagine that you are in your most favorite place in the world. This could be a place you have been to before or a place you dream about. This place should make you feel calm and in control. Look around the place in your imagination; Does it have a ceiling or can you see the sky? Is there a floor or are you outside? Look all around your favorite place and see what is there.  Take a deep calming breath in and out….
    • Now imagine that your most favorite person in the whole world is with you in this calming place. This person should make you feel calm and in control - you can be yourself around this person. Take another deep breath in and out….
    • Next imagine that next to you and your favorite person in your favorite place is a large wooden bowl, filled with your most favorite food. This bowl is a magical bowl. Once you finish eating whatever is inside of it, it fills itself back up with whatever food you choose! Another deep breath, in and out…
    • I am going to count backwards from ten to one. While I am counting I want you to imagine yourself in that place, with that person and that magical bowl. I want you to take three deep breaths too. When I get to one, please open your eyes and look at me (Count down from 10 to 1). 


  • What did it feel like to take a break and think about those things?
    • This calm, safe, happy feeling is the feeling of “peace.”
  • Do you think your mind movie was the same as others or different?
  • How can taking those deep breaths help us to stay in the Green Zone and keep our Self Control?
  • When we find ourselves in the Yellow Zone, we can use that visual to get ourselves back to green. Take 3 deep breaths and think about your calming place for 10 seconds. Then you will be calm and ready to make safe decisions.


  • Adapt the narrative for the age group and challenges of the students.

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