Mind/Body Connection Workout: Stimulate the Physical Body for Focus
Stimulating and enhancing the mind/body connection is the final step in the test taking Relaxation Gym workout. It is possible to formulate any number of combinations. The components in this step include: physical activity to stimulate the brain, stretching and deep breathing. When you combine activities that address each of these areas, you are building strength in the mind/body connection that supports the relaxation related to enhanced focus, concentration and memory.
Activity: Mind/Body Workout: Move + Stretch + Breathe = Increased Focus
I Move Activity: Shake Out
For a quick energy shift, tell students it is time to shake out any feelings about the test that they don’t want. Suggest that, if they are feeling worried, or tense or concerned or tired, this is the perfect opportunity to release those feelings and shake it out. Tell them that we are going to shake, shake, shake our bodies until all the tense energy is released into the space around us. Begin by simply allowing the body to gently, slowly shake in whatever way it feels comfortable. Let go everywhere like a floppy noodle. Pay attention to the energy moving through your body. Remember there is nothing to “do”–just relax and allow it to happen. The perfect amount of energy will be released. After about two minutes, tell students to begin to finish up their shaking. Initiate a Freeze and Feel by having them stop and do a body check, checking in to pay very close attention to the sensations and feelings that are moving through them.
I Stretch Activity: Sweep Stretch
Introduce this stretch by saying that we are going to sweep our minds clean to get ready for the test. Ask students if there are any thoughts that they have right now that they would like to sweep out of their minds. We can sweep out those thoughts to get our minds ready for the test. Begin by standing by your desk. Take a deep breath, reach your arms way up high and bring your hands together to form your broom. Now bend over at the waste, release your breath, let your muscles go, and sweep the floor with your hands. Back and forth, back and forth. Reach up high, take a deep breath in and stretch. Now bend over again, release your breath and sweep the floor. Repeat until your mind feels focused and ready to start.
I Breathe Activity: Breathing Test Taking Jingle
This is the final activity to prepare for test taking. The Relaxation Gym workout is almost complete. The final step to being completely ready is to practice some deep breaths. Remind students that this deep breathing workout can be completed during the test as well in order to re-focus on your work and to remind yourself to relax while you are taking the test. Explain to students that when our breathing is slow and even, we can tell that our bodies are relaxed. Have the students sit up straight at their desks. Begin by taking a deep breath in through your nose, hold it for a count of three, and gently release it out through your mouth. Practice this three times. Give them a sticker to place on their tummies to make sure that you are practicing tummy breathing, not chest breathing. The sticker should move on the inhale and collapse back down on the exhale. After you are finished practicing, have the class recite the following jingle together:
I take a deep breath,
I go with the flow.
It’s easy for me,
To show what I know.
Congratulations! You and your class are well on your way to building stellar test taking muscles. Practice builds strength. Great work training your brai