Worry Group Activity: Deep Breathing to Make Worry Monsters

In my worry management group, students create their own “worry monster” to represent the worries they have. They draw and name their worry monsters and verbalize the times at which the worry monster tends to come out. For example, a student might say, “My worry monster Harry comes out at night when it’s dark and there are noises outside my window.” So when I saw this amazing art activity from Liska at Adventure in a Box, I knew it would be great for worry group to teach students helpful strategies to manage worries. Lisa uses watercolors to make monsters, and I thought it would be perfect to make these while practicing controlled breathing.

Worry Group Art Activity: Help your students in worry group personify their worries by making a worry monster with watercolors and deep breathing!

Worry Group Activity: Worry Monsters

Teach Deep Breathing

After reviewing the physiological experiences of worry (pounding heart, racing thoughts, etc.), talk to your students about how controlled breathing or diaphragmatic breathing can help to calm their bodies and minds. Practice controlled breathing with your preferred method. I usually start by simply teaching students to breathe in through their noses for a count of 5 and breathe out through their mouths for a count of 7.

You could also use bubble breathing, bee breathing, or cake breathing. To teach bubble breathing, head outside and give your students bubbles and bubble wands. Have them take a deep breath in and then slowly blow the bubble wands. Watch the bubbles gently float away before taking another breath. For bee breathing, students will take a deep breath in and slowly release the breath while buzzing like a bee. To teach cake breathing, have students close their eyes and imagine they are smelling a birthday cake as they inhale through their noses. Imagine blowing out the candles as they exhale. All of these accomplish the same goal: students focus on controlling their breathing, slowing their respiration and heart rates.

Make Your Worry Monsters

After your students have practiced their deep breathing exercises, make your worry monsters! You’ll need:

  • card stock or heavy paper
  • circle stickers
  • watercolor paints
  • brushes (or Lisa used a dropper)
  • straws
  • markers/pens

Get supplies on Amazon

Worry Group Art Activity: Help your students in worry group personify their worries by making a worry monster with watercolors and deep breathing!

Check out Liska’s instructions on her post! Encourage your students to use their deep breathing skills as they blow through the straw to spread the paint and create the monster. Take a deep breath in and then slowly blow it out through the straw. Repeat this as many times as desired to form the monster. Let these dry and then cut them out and name them.

How do you help the students in your worry group manage worries? Personifying worry or anxiety can help students to make their abstract experience of worry a little more tangible. When they can picture their worry monsters and know its name, they activate their logical thinking.

If you’re looking for more activities to help students with worries, check these out. And be sure to check out the other art activities and group activities I have posted here on the blog!

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Keep Reading:

Help your students in worry group personify their worries by making a worry monster with watercolors and a deep breathing exercise! Students will learn two helpful strategies to manage worries in small group counseling or individual counseling.

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