Grounding Like a Tree
- Participate in an exercise to pay attention to their bodies, and cultivate positive feelings of peace, strength, and connection
When students participate in mindfulness programs at school, researchers have found numerous benefits, including increased cognitive performance, calmness, and emotional regulation, and decreased stress and tiredness. Thus, we encourage educators to implement mindfulness practices, such as grounding, throughout the school day.
To learn more about this skill, and how it promotes students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.
- Introduce the exercise to students by explaining: “Grounding is a practice that helps us notice and manage any emotions we are feeling, so we can focus on positive thoughts and emotions. Grounding helps us experience the present moment more fully. We are going to try a version in which we imagine ourselves as trees.”
- Engage students in the grounding exercise by playing the video below. Alternatively, there is also a script that you can read to students.
- Afterwards, invite students to share how they are feeling by asking the following questions:
• Notice the feelings and sensations in your body after completing this exercise. What do you see? What do you hear? What does it feel like?
• Are these feelings and sensations pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral? Try to pay attention to the pleasant or neutral ones, and notice what happens next. How do you feel now?
- Sit or stand with your feet on the ground in a way that feels comfortable to you. Think of your favorite tree, like an oak, sycamore, or palm tree.
- Imagine yourself as your favorite tree, and that your feet are roots growing into the earth, anchoring you and connecting you to the world around you.
- Imagine that your body is like the trunk of a tree, powerful and solid, providing protection and strength.
- Imagine that your arms are like tree branches, strong but flexible, as you gently move them in the air.
- Imagine the warm sun shining down on you, filling you with positive and calming feelings - starting from your branches, down your trunk, and to your roots.
- When you're ready, look around the room and gently bring your attention back to the present moment.
If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...
Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call.
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.
If students in either class don’t have individual devices...
Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.