3 mindfulness exercises to help tweens deal with stress and anxiety

3 mindfulness exercises to help tweens deal with stress and anxiety

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Whether it’s dealing with pressures at school, homework, sports, family responsibilities or trying to create time for friends, today’s tweens are busy!

Throughout my years of teaching yoga and mindfulness to tweens, I learned what considerable stress they can be under and how much they need access to tools that will empower them to create balance and calm their minds.

The practice of mindfulness offers tweens a way to slow down, ground themselves to the moment, connect with their intuition and find inner peace.

What is mindfulness?

I like the definition shared by Jon Kabat-Zinn. He brought the Buddhist practice of mindfulness to the West, in a way that is more accessible and secular to Western culture.

Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally…in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.

One of the easiest ways to pay attention to the present moment is to focus on your breathing. 

Here are three, simple yet powerful breathing exercises you can use to manage feelings of stress and anxiety.

Experiment with the different exercises to find the best fit for your individual needs.

Ocean Breath

Constrict the back of your throat slightly so your breath makes an ocean sound. Inhale and exhale long, deep breaths through your nose. Allow the sound of your breath drown out your thoughts.

Counting Breath

Inhale through your nose and count to four. Hold your breath in for a count of four. Exhale through your mouth and count to eight.

Grounding Breath

Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. Take a long, deep breath in through your nose, feeling your hand rise as your belly fills with air. Exhale through your mouth and let out a big sigh.

When to practice these exercises

  • Anytime you’re feeling stressed or anxious
  • When you’re nervous before a test, performance or trying something new
  • To calm down after having a fight with someone
  • When you’re anxious about meeting new people or joining a social activity
  • When you have anxious thoughts or negative self-talk
  • If you’re having trouble sleeping


  • Repeat each breath 5-10 times until you feel calm and centered
  • These exercises can be done sitting, lying down or standing
  • Increase the mind-body connection of all breathing exercises by placing your hands on your belly, heart or third-eye
  • Start by practicing these exercises when you’re already calm, so you can get used to them and be able to easily recall them during times of stress and anxiety

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Free Mindfulness Challenge!

Breathing exercises are only one kind of tool to help bring you into the present moment.

It’s important to share a variety of ideas for tweens to explore as they build their personal toolkit of what’s going to be the best fit for their individual style and needs.


I’ve created a free activity challenge to help introduce mindfulness in a fun, accessible way.

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