Research proves that shallow, irregular breathing brings in 1-2 pints of oxygen as fuel for the mind/body/emotions. Deep belly button breathing brings in 6-7 pints of oxygen as high octane fuel. Insufficient oxygen intake causes negative, unclear thoughts, a tendency to be irritated easily, a lack of good communication, compassion, and difficulty with self-management and control.
Taking deep belly button breaths creates empowerment with sufficient oxygen intake. The system made up of thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and breathing all have better fuel to operate with greater positivity and empowerment. Communication is easier; listening is easier; it becomes more natural to have a positive outlook and make good decisions. When kids learn proper deep breathing, their mindfulness becomes more acute leading to greater self-control and self-care, self-worth, and self-confidence.
Understanding that the mind/body/emotions/breathing work together as a system gives a solid foundation for an internal frame of reference. That supports being able to ACT instead of REACT. In the idea of mindfulness, it is essential to include the whole system of mind/body/emotions/breathing and how they all cooperate with each other.
If you feel upset, you have upsetting thoughts, your breathing changes and you feel tension someplace in your body. Switch to feeling peaceful and there is a change in thoughts, body sensations, and breathing. This is proven in scientific research.
Children can place a hand on the belly button area to feel themselves breathing. Taking shallow breaths through the chest denotes levels of tension, not self-calming. Breathing through the abdomen is the optimal approach for proper fuel. As the children place a hand on the belly button area, guide them to breathe in through the belly button, 1,2,3,4,5. They will feel their bellies extend and know they are breathing correctly. Then guide them to exhale, feeling with their hands on their bellies, how the bellies shrink with the exhalation.
Do this several times, first asking before deep breathing to have children close their eyes and pay attention to how they feel. After taking several deep belly button breaths, ask them to close their eyes once again and notice how different they feel. Facilitate a discussion, sharing your experience also.