Partner Mindfulness Activity: Receive a Compliment

In a recent kindness classroom lesson, we were brainstorming ways to encourage more kindness in the classroom. One student suggested that we take time to offer to each peer in the class a compliment. Everyone was really excited about this idea, so I grabbed some paper and everyone wrote their names on the top of the paper. We passed the paper around a circle and students wrote compliments to each other. One thing I quickly noticed was that many of these compliments focused on physical features or were very general (“you’re nice” or “pretty smile”). While these compliments brought a smile to students’ faces, I decided I wanted to spend another lesson talking about genuine compliments. After this paper-passing activity, we talked about how it is sometimes hard to accept compliments and some students actively denied some things their peers wrote about them. From here, I planned an activity to address giving and receiving compliments while integrating mindfulness so that we could focus on some of the feelings associated with receiving compliments. This activity worked great for a classroom guidance lesson and as a mindfulness group activity!

Want to blend mindfulness and social skills? You'll love this mindfulness group activity for elementary or middle school counseling! Students work on giving and accepting compliments and do a mindfulness exercise. This is great for classroom guidance lessons or small group counseling activities!

Mindfulness Group Activity: Partner Up

Pre-Teaching: Giving Genuine Compliments

For this mindfulness exercise to work, students have to know how to give genuine compliments! Here are a few things we talk about:

  • Give specific compliments: instead of “you’re smart” say something like, “I was really impressed with the way you solved that problem”
  • Say things that are true: people quickly pick up on compliments that aren’t true!
  • Focus on strengths, qualities, and characteristics instead of appearances. Tell people what you notice they’re good at doing and what qualities and characteristics you appreciate. Some students need a little help thinking of qualities, so we spend some time making a list here.
Want to blend mindfulness and social skills? You'll love this mindfulness group activity for elementary or middle school counseling! Students work on giving and accepting compliments and do a mindfulness exercise. This is great for classroom guidance lessons or small group counseling activities!

Pre-Teaching: Accepting Compliments

After talking about giving compliments, I invite 6-7 students who feel ready to give compliments to come to the front of the room. I pair them up and have one offer a compliment to his or her partner. Then we just watch what happens.

Sometimes the students receiving compliments accept them, but often at least two of the students refocus or deny the compliment. They’ll say things like, “Oh not really…” or “You’re really good at X too,” taking the focus off of themselves. We talk about how sometimes, we all have the inclination to not accept a compliment. Students share their ideas about why this is. They say things like:

  • They don’t believe the compliment
  • It’s uncomfortable to be complimented
  • They don’t like being spotlighted

Then, we practice accepting genuine compliments! I have a couple of students throw out compliments and we write them on the board. Students write responses around these that are things they could say to accept the compliment.

Want to blend mindfulness and social skills? You'll love this mindfulness group activity for elementary or middle school counseling! Students work on giving and accepting compliments and do a mindfulness exercise. This is great for classroom guidance lessons or small group counseling activities!

Partner Activity

After we’ve spent time offering and accepting compliments, we do a mindfulness exercise to practice and notice what the whole experience is like. Students will pair up with one partner and sit facing one another in their seats or on the floor. One partner will offer the other a genuine compliment. The partner receiving the compliment will take a moment to soak in and accept the compliment, letting it wash over him or her. I do let students know they don’t have to maintain eye contact with partners for the duration of this activity because that can be uncomfortable and also leads to some giggles.

Want to blend mindfulness and social skills? You'll love this mindfulness group activity for elementary or middle school counseling! Students work on giving and accepting compliments and do a mindfulness exercise. This is great for classroom guidance lessons or small group counseling activities!

I use a mindfulness script to guide students to notice the sensations they experience as the compliment takes root. Students should not verbally respond right away but should instead take a minute or two to soak in and experience the compliment. Remind students that if they have an inclination to speak (to accept or deny the compliment), they should try to push away the thoughts or words and focus just on how they are feeling in the moment. Afterward sitting with this for a moment, students say, “I receive and accept your compliment.” Then, switch roles!

Debrief

The activity is only as good as the debrief! Have students discuss these prompts:

  • What was it like to sit with the compliment instead of respond right away?
  • Where in your body did you notice sensations while you sat with the compliment?
  • What thoughts did you notice? Which thoughts did you push away?
  • What emotions did you have when you received the compliment?
  • How is this different from how you normally respond when given a compliment?
  • What feelings do you have right now? What feelings do you have when you deny a compliment given to you?
  • How do you think accepting a compliment can affect your well-being? your relationships?

How do you help your students give and receive genuine compliments? Can you see this working as a mindfulness group activity for you? Let me know in the comments how it goes for your students after you give it a try!

Find Resources from This Post:

Mindfulness from A to Z

Read About More Mindfulness Group Activities on the Blog:

Daily Intentions Mindfulness Activity

Winter Mindfulness Activities

Want to blend mindfulness and social skills? You'll love this mindfulness group activity for elementary or middle school counseling! Students work on giving and accepting compliments and do a mindfulness exercise. This is great for classroom guidance lessons or small group counseling activities!

2 thoughts on “Partner Mindfulness Activity: Receive a Compliment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial
17 Shares
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap