In today’s society, it’s common for adults to take up meditation, yoga, new forms of spirituality and other centering practices in order to keep their emotions in check. After all, grappling with how you feel, trying to figure out why those emotions exist and then actually making strides to move past those feelings is hard. What people don’t realize is that young kids are also forced to deal with stressful situations, conflict, confusion and anxiety. Unfortunately, they don’t often have access to the same coping tools we do.
Enter “Just Breathe,” a short, four-minute film produced by filmmakers Julie Bayer Salzman and Josh Salzman that helps kids better understand their emotions. In watching this video, kids can come to understand that, sometimes, the key to calming down is to just breathe.
According to the short’s description on YouTube, “The inspiration for ‘Just Breathe’ first came about a little over a year ago when I overheard my then 5-year-old son talking with his friend about how emotions affect different regions of the brain, and how to calm down by taking deep breaths… I was surprised and overjoyed to witness first-hand just how significant social-emotional learning in an elementary school curriculum was on these young minds.”
The short, which is posted on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls website, begins with kids candidly talking about what triggers their anger. One girl says, “I get mad when my brother hits me a lot,” while another boy says, “I don’t like it when you say you don’t want to play with me.” Then kids begin to open up about what they feel physically when anger sets in.
“When I’m mad, my brain can get a headache and it can start hurting,” says one kid. Another explains that “your blood keeps pumping because you’re really mad and you start to get sweaty because you’re really really mad and when you start to get really mad, you start to turn red.” These honest kids really get to the core of what anger is, in that the body loses control and, in turn, the “mad takes over your body.”
The video encourages kids to take deep breaths to cool off, weaving in images of adults doing the same, in order to show that it’s a common, effective technique for everyone, no matter what your age!
What are your get-calm techniques?