We know that things can go very differently if we back ourselves with helpful thoughts when things get difficult. Draw a cartoon with thought bubbles showing how helpful thoughts can lead to success in a difficult situation.
If the students are struggling to get started you can provide these ideas to get started:
**For the little ones they can just draw a picture of themselves doing something they love and dictate a helpful thought to an adult to write in a thought bubble for them.
“We know that sometimes our thoughts can be helpful and sometimes they can be unhelpful”
“Have you ever struggled to complete something because you were experiencing unhelpful thoughts? What were the thoughts that made it difficult?”
“Sit with a buddy and share your experience. Be sure to share the thoughts that weren’t helping you.” After they’ve finished, challenge them to brainstorm thoughts that would have helped them in the same situation.
When coming back together, let the students know that by recognizing unhelpful thoughts we can start to bring attention to them and they have less power. Everyone has unhelpful thoughts and even thoughts that aren’t true. If we practice being aware of our thoughts throughout the day we can start to be aware of what’s going on and even begin to make choices over what we listen to and what we don’t.
If you have time you can allow them to share some of their experiences with the group.
Let’s take a break. Find a way to relax your body - maybe by lying down - if your teacher doesn’t mind - or putting your head down on your arms. Imagine you are sinking down into a comfy beanbag. Take a few deep breaths and let your mind also take a break from whatever you were doing just now - just for a few moments.
Now bring attention to your hands - let’s imagine you have a lemon in one of your hands - now squeeze the lemon really hard as if you are trying to get all the juice out of it. Feel the squeezing action all the way up your arms. Breathe in and as you breathe out - drop the lemon. Relax your hand. Let’s do this again - using the same hand, squeeze the lemon super super super hard - get every last drop out, maybe even notice your belly and chest getting tight! Breathe in and as you breathe out, drop the lemon and notice what the hand feels like as you relax it.
Is there a difference between the hand that has been squeezing and the other hand. Be very still and notice what you feel! Maybe one hand feels tingly and warmer than the other.
Now let's do the same with the other hand. Imagine putting a big juicy lemon in the other hand and let’s squeeze the lemon really hard as if you are trying to get all the juice out of it. Feel the squeezing action all the way up your arms. Breathe in and as you breathe out - drop the lemon. Relax your hand.Now using both hands at once - like you have two lemons - one in each hand, squeeze the lemons super super super hard - get every last drop out, maybe even notice your belly and chest getting tight! Breathe in and as you breathe out, drop the lemon and notice what the hand feels like as you relax it.
Take a few deep breaths noticing how different the muscles in the hands feel when now that you have let go of the lemons. Think to yourself - no need to answer out loud. Do your muscles feel softer, more relaxed? Do you still feel tingling? Are the feelings in the hands changing?
Alright - time to wake back up again - so stretch your arms above your head and rub your eyes and wake up! Sit up nice and tall and shift your attention back to your teacher.
“Without talking, you have 5 seconds to find a partner and sit behind them, go (1,2,3,4,5)”
“If you are sitting in the back ask your partner if you can give them a massage.”
“Remember your friend is trusting you to be kind and respectful of their body so make good choices.”
Finish with an affirmation - Have the student giving the massage place their hands on their friend’s shoulders and say “You are calm” or pick another affirmation: You are….kind, relaxed, a star, great, clever, brilliant.
Have the front child say thank you (Kia Ora) and have them swap places.
* It is great to have the students check in afterwards