Beans for Thought

Mar 4, 2011 | All Relaxation Activities, Positive Self-Talk

The latest brain research tells us that our biochemistry is affected by the way we think.  If children spend all day thinking stressful thoughts, their biochemistry will align to feel more stress.  However, if they spend all day thinking relaxing, peaceful thoughts, their biochemistry will also align to feel more peace and relaxation.   One of the ways we can begin to relax is to re-structure our thought patterns to align with relaxing thoughts or thoughts that feel good to think them.  If we practice relaxing or feel good thoughts over time, we should begin to feel more peaceful and relaxed. 

Try this activity with your child to help rehearse relaxing thoughts:

  1. Assemble two bowls,  one empty and one filled with beans, buttons, colorful fluffy balls, or other item of choice that can be easily counted. 
  2. Take a deep breath and check in with your body to see how it feels.  Notice if your muscles are tight, if your hands are relaxed, how your face and eyes feel.  See if you feel tense or calm, if you are feeling good or not.
  3. Begin by select one bean.   As you pick it up, state the relaxing thought out loud and place the bean in the empty bowl.  Move slowly and with a steady rhythm.  You might want to add more or less beans depending on the amount of time you want to practice.  (For relaxing thought ideas, please see the Relaxing Thought List that follows)
  4. When you have moved all of the beans from one bowl to the other, have a relaxation celebration.  Check in with your body to see if it feels any different. If you are feeling more relaxed and calm, celebrate!   


  • Pick up the items using tweezers or kids’ chopsticks ( for an added element of concentration and focus. 
  • One day per week, use a food item (such as grapes, dried cherries or raisins).  Each time you eat the food item, pause to pay attention and really taste the item and swallow it.  State your thought out loud before picking up the next item and eating it.  Think about how you are filling your body with those relaxing thoughts and how good it feels to send it throughout your body.

 Relaxing Thought List

I like myself just as I am

My body feels calm and free like a fluffy cloud

I breathe in and smile

I relax and feel good inside

I see pretty things everywhere

I feel beautiful inside

I am free to be me all the time


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