Learning to Breathe: A Mindfulness Curriculum for Adolescents to Cultivate Emotion Regulation, Attention, and Performance

Learning to Breathe: A Mindfulness Curriculum for Adolescents to Cultivate Emotion Regulation, Attention, and Performance


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Disruptive behavior in the classroom, poor academic performance, out-of-control emotions: if you work with adolescents, you are well-aware of the challenges this age group presents. What if there was a way to calm these students down and arm them with the mindfulness skills needed to really excel in school and life?

Written by mindfulness expert and licensed clinical psychologist Patricia C. Broderick, Learning to Breathe is a secular program that tailors the teaching of mindfulness to the developmental needs of adolescents to help them understand their thoughts and feelings and manage distressing emotions. Students will be empowered by learning important mindfulness meditation skills that help them improve emotion regulation, reduce stress, improve overall performance, and, perhaps most importantly, develop their attention. The book also includes a website link with student handouts and homework assignments, making it an ideal classroom tool.

The book integrates certain themes of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, into a program that is shorter, more accessible to students, and compatible with school curricula. Students will learn to pay attention in the moment, manage emotions as they are perceived, and gain greater control over their own feelings and actions. These mindfulness practices offer the opportunity to develop hardiness in the face of uncomfortable feelings that otherwise might provoke a response that could be harmful (e.g. acting out by taking drugs, displaying violent behavior or acting in by becoming more depressed).

This easy-to-use manual is designed to be used by teachers, but can also be used by any mental health provider teaching adolescents emotion regulation, stress reduction and mindfulness skills. The author is a graduate of the MBSR advanced practicum at the Center for Mindfulness in Massachusetts, led by Jon Kabat-Zinn. She is also a clinical psychologist and a certified school psychologist and counselor for grades K-12. In the book, Broderick calls on her years of experience working with adolescents to outline the best strategies for dealing with disruption in the classroom and emotions that are out of hand.

The book is structured around six themes built upon the acronym BREATHE, and each theme has a core message. The program allows for themes to be delivered in 6 longer or 18 shorter sessions, depending upon time and needs of students. The 6 core lessons are: Body, Reflection, Emotions, Attention, Tenderness, and Healthy Mind Habits.

Learning to Breathe is the perfect tool for empowering students as they grapple with the psychological tasks of adolescence.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608827831
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
Publication date: 06/01/2013
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 157,083
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Patricia C. Broderick, PhD, is a research associate at the Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development at Penn State University and founder of the Stress Reduction Center at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. A graduate of the mindfulness-based stress reduction advanced practicum at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Broderick is a licensed clinical psychologist as well as a certified school psychologist and counselor for grades K through 12. In addition, she is the author of The Life Span: Human Development for Helping Professionals, a textbook for graduate-level students and mental health professionals.  

Foreword writer Myla Kabat-Zinn, RN, BSN, spent a number of years assisting at births both in the hospital and at home. During those years she also taught childbirth education classes based on mindful awareness. She is the coauthor, with her husband Jon, of Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. She has lead workshops on mindful parenting in the US and in Europe.

Foreword writer Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, is internationally known for his work as a scientist, writer, and meditation teacher engaged in bringing mindfulness into the mainstream of medicine and society. He is professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and author of numerous books, including Full Catastrophe Living, Arriving at Your Own Door, and Coming to Our Senses


Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Acknowlegments xii

Part 1 Introduction and Overview

1 A Message for Teachers and Therapists 3

2 Making a Case and a Place for Mindfulness in Education 6

3 Objectives and Theoretical and Developmental Foundations of Learning to BREATHE 12

4 How to Use This Manual: Teaching Learning to BREATHE 16

Activity: Mini-Mindful Movements to Begin Sessions or for Practice between Sessions 24

Part 2 Six-Session Program

5 Theme B: Body 29

Activity: Mindful Listening 31

Activity: Eating Mindfully 33

Activity: Sense Doors 34

Activity: Mindful Walkabout 36

Practice: Body Scan 38

6 Theme R: Reflections 45

Activity: The Big Event 47

Activity: My Mind Is a Cast of Characters 49

Practice: Mindfulness of Thoughts 52

7 Theme E: Emotions 56

Activity: The Lineup 58

Activity: Emotion in Three Acts 59

Activity: The Great Cover-Up 62

Activity: Surfing the Waves 64

Practice: Mindfulness of Feelings 70

8 Theme A: Attention 73

Activity: Case Study 75

Activity: Cross the Line (Stressors) 77

Activity: How Much Can You Handle? 78

Practice: Mindful Movements 81

9 Theme T: Tenderness 85

Activity: Practicing Mental Habits 87

Activity: Ways We Care for Ourselves, or Not 87

Activity: Additional Options 90

Practice: Loving-Kindness 92

10 Theme H: Habits 96

Activity: Mindful Quilt 98

Practice: Closing-Mindful Listening and Mindful Speaking 99

Part 3 Eighteen-Session Program

11 Theme B: Body 103

Bell-Sound Practice 105

Short Breath-Awareness Practice 106

Activity: Mindful Eating 108

Short Body Scan (Feet) 109

Practice: Body Scan 112

Practice: Personal Mindfulness-Mindfulness in My Life 115

12 Theme R: Reflections 116

Acitivity: The Big Event 117

Activity: Fill in the Blanks 118

Short Mindfulness Practice 120

Activity: Name That Thought 122

Activity: The White Polar Bear 123

Practice: Mindfulness of Thoughts 124

Activity: My Mind Is a Cast of Characters 127

Practice: Mindfulness of Thoughts 127

13 Theme E: Emotions 130

Activity: Emotion in Three Acts 131

Activity: How Does It Feel? 132

Activity: The Lineup 132

Practice: Mindfulness of Emotions 133

Activity: The Great Cover-Up 136

Practice: Finding the Feeling 137

Activity: Surfing the Waves 141

14 Theme A: Attention 142

A Stressed-Out Case (Middle School) 143

Cross the Line (Stressors) 145

Practice: Mindful Walking 146

Activity: How Much Can You Handle? 148

Activity: What's My Limit? 148

Activity: Mindfulness 360 150

Alternate Practice: Waterlines 151

15 Theme T: Tenderness 154

Activity: Ways We Care for Ourselves, or Not. 156

Alternative Activity: Practicing Meanness or Kindness Card Sort 156

Practice: Loving-Kindness 157

Practice: Loving-Kindness 160

Optional Activity: Message in a Bottle 160

Short Gratitude Practice 161

Stream of Gratitude (Mindful Writing) 162

Practice: "A Person Just Like Me" 163

16 Theme H: Habits 165

Designed to "Re-Mind" 166

Practice: Short Body Scan 167

Mindful Quilt 168

BREATHE Beading 169

What I Wish for Myself 169

Practice: Loving-Kindness 169

Activity: Closing Circle 170

Optional Activity: Message in a Bottle 171

Part 4 Supplementary Information

17 The Adolescent Period: Challenges and Opportunities 175

18 A Primer on Stress 178

A Sample Assessments for Mindfulness Research with Youth 183

B Links between L2B and Educational Laws and Standards 188

C Learning to BREATHE Student Workbook-Six-Session Version 193

D Learning to BREATHE Student Workbook-Eighteen-Session Version 219

BREATHE Wallet Card Template and BREATHE Acronym Posters 249

Recommended Reading 259

References 261


Patricia Broderick lives in Blue Bell, PA.

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