Chill Breaks

Only have a few minutes? Check out Chill Breaks! These two, five and ten minute activities will help you stress less when you've got limited time.

Chill Breaks Under Two Minutes

Mindful Movement

Choose any of the below videos!

Front Stretch Right
Front Stretch Left
Basic Spine Flex
Neck Turns
Washing Machine
Shoulder Rolls
Shoulder Shrugs
Half-Moon Neck Rolls

Gratitude Meditation

Listen to the audio above. Then, think about how you can practice gratitude every day.

Get Focused Meditation

Listen to the audio. Remember that learning to focus works to calm us and relieve stress.

Get Perspective

Choose one of the below sections to talk or think about.

1.One story about a person is just one story, not the whole person.

Think about a moment in time when you were at your worst, a time you might rather forget. Or even a longer period of time when you were just really in a funk.

What if that time got labeled and it was all you were ever seen as? That wouldn’t be fair. And it would probably have some negative consequences, like people not being as friendly with you or not giving you opportunities you might like to have.

Everyone loses when you start letting individual instances or judgments determine how you see people and situations. Those who are unfairly judged are hurt, and so are those who don’t keep an open mind about people and possibilities.

What’s one thing someone could have said to you that would have made you feel better?

What’s one thing you could say to someone who has been unfairly hurt or judged that would make them feel better?

What’s one thing you could say to someone who has been unfairly hurt or judged that would make them feel better?

2. There are no failures, only feedback.

Have you ever tried something and felt like it didn’t go the way you hoped? Did it feel like a failure? Did you try again? What happened the next time?

Any time something doesn’t go the way you want, you have a choice: you can view it was a failure or you can view it as an opportunity to learn from the feedback of it not going the way you wanted. It is okay to make mistakes and the most important part of mistakes is what you learn from them – failure is what didn’t happen and feedback is what did happen.

Think of a time when something didn’t go as planned and you quickly labeled it as a failure. How did that make you feel? How could you have viewed the situation as positive instead of negative?

3. The person with the greatest flexibility has the best chance to make things better.

It’s nice when things go exactly as planned, but sometimes they don’t.

Have you ever made plans with friends and then they don’t turn out the way you planned? Maybe the movie you wanted to see is no longer playing. Or the coffee shop you were going to is closed.

Some people get really upset when things don’t go the way they thought they would and that reaction makes it hard to see other possibilities. Other people go with the flow and view the unexpected as an opportunity – they have flexibility. The more flexible you are, the more likely you are to be resilient and be the person to direct positive change.

Think about a time when things didn’t go as planned. What is one thing you could have done to adapt to the unexpected and make a positive change? Be flexible.

4. The more time we spend in the stress response, the less resilient we become.

Has a stressful situation made it hard for you to concentrate or treat people the way you normally would? Has a friend ever been so stressed that they treated you poorly?

When you are stressed it can be hard to react positively to normal daily situations and it is easy to take things personally when someone else is treating you poorly. The same is true for others.

5. Everyone has a unique map of the world.

Think about a time you went to see a movie with four of your friends. After the movie is over each of you will have experienced the movie differently – in a sense, you will have watched four different movies. Your beliefs, attitudes, physiology and past experiences play a part in how you each saw the movie in a different way; they are your “map of the world”.

Each person sees and experiences the world differently, just like the movie example, according to their personal “map”. No one is accurate or right in their reality, their reality is just the way it is. When we understand this and learn to respect other peoples’ “maps of the world” we become more resilient through respect and understanding.

The next time you feel challenged by someone else’s opinion, pause, take a couple slow deep breaths and think how your reaction or decision can lead to an improved outcome.

6. Once in a while, we need a Mental Remix. 

Sometimes Google Maps or GPS directions don’t match the actual streets or buildings. For example, on a road trip the map might say to take Exit 3C for 7th Street but when you arrive, there is no exit for 7th Street. If you were unfamiliar with the area, your first response may be to panic.

Similarly, sometimes the maps you have in your mind (remember your “map of the world”), don’t always match what is actually happening in your life. The more you can be aware of your maps, the more you can adjust and adapt as needed – this is called a Mental Remix.

Everyone experiences stress. But its how you deal with it that makes a difference in your overall perspective.

Try to mentally remix your next stressful event and write down three ways you can turn things around.

Chill Breaks Under Five Minutes

Awareness Experiment
Listen to the audio above and think about how you feel when it is complete.

Head-to-Toe Relaxation
Listen to the audio above and think about how you feel when it is complete.

Just Breathe Meditation
Listen to the audio above and think about how you feel when it is complete.

Special Place Guided Imagery
Listen to the audio above and think about how you feel when it is complete.

Mental Remix

Remember that we all experience stress. It’s how we deal with it that makes a difference in our overall perspective. Discuss or think about how you can mentally remix your next stressful event. Watch to learn more.

Chill Breaks Under Ten Minutes

Mindful Movement for Any Room

Choose one of the videos below.

  • The kitchen sequence focuses on building energy, awakening and warmth. This sequence is great for when teens have just awaken, are feeling sluggish or just need a burst of warmth.
  • The bedroom sequence can be done any time for restfulness and peacefulness. It would be a great one to do before bed for a better night’s sleep.
  • The study/den sequence can be done on a chair, before a test, or anywhere teens would like to draw their focus back to the present moment but have no place to stand or lay down.
  • The hallway sequence is for when teens are feeling stagnant, in transition (a bit scattered without purpose), or simply needing some balance.

Mindful Movement for Any Room: Kitchen
Mindful Movement for Any Room: Bedroom

Mindful Movement for Any Room: Study/Den
Mindful Movement for Any Room: Hallway

Calm Practice Worksheet

Begin by choosing a feeling. It can be any feeling – a feeling happening in this moment or one that comes up as you think about feelings (happy, sad, angry, frustrated, etc.). Then answer the questions on the “Calm Practice” worksheet (pdf).

Once the worksheet is complete, listen to the audio clip or follow these steps:

  1. Bring back the image of your initial feeling. Picture that image’s color, shape, and texture. Imagine pulling your feeling out of that place in your body where you imagined the feeling residing.
  2. Replace the shape of your initial feeling with the shape you named as peace, calm or joy. Replace the color of your initial feeling with your favorite color and replace the texture with the texture you listed.
  3. Picture your image with the changes you have made, thinking of the sounds of your favorite song. Take a deep breath while imagining the new image you have created.
  4. Imagine taking your image and placing it back in your body, where the feeling usually resides. Take several deep breaths while picturing the new image.
  5. Discuss or think about if you could feel the difference between what you visualized for their first feeling and the feeling of peace, calm or joy.

Remember that when you encounter a feeling that causes stress, you can try visualizing your peace, calm or joy feeling. You have the ability to moderate your feelings by choosing a feeling and visual you like.

Gratitude Worksheet

Work through the “Gratitude” worksheet (pdf), taking time to discuss or think about each question. Once the worksheet is complete, intentionally set aside time to write a thank you letter to someone you are grateful for.