Deep, Slow Breathing and Mindfulness May Help Make Kids Bullyproof

Mindfulness can help prevent and ease the pain of bullying  Pamela Price for

It seems too simple to be true, doesn’t it? That deep breathing practices and other kinds of similar, stress-reducing activities can be useful bully-proofing tools?

Yet we now know that deep, slow breathing helps kids relax and regroup after negative interpersonal exchanges, be it incidents of ordinary meanness or full-fledged bullying. Intentionally practicing deep breathing together along with other types of mindfulness training (meditation or, for religious folks, “contemplative prayer”), holds great potential for helping bullies and their victims alike, too. Just look at the work of Inner Explorer.

Basically, these practices help us humans shift our sensitive brains and nervous systems away from the dreaded “fight or flight” mode toward the more serene “rest and digest” mode. This can be helpful for kids and teens not only in the context of a negative social encounter but also in the aftermath, when anxiety and traumatic memories can threaten to overwhelm them as they try to process mentally, physically, and emotionally what has happened. With rare exceptions children who are prone to being overly aggressive or manipulative–yes, the bullies themselves–can learn to calm and regroup themselves as well. They can also learn to recognize triggers for negative behaviors and respond to those impulses using self-calming strategies. (Conflict management skills help, too, obviously.)

One simple breathing technique that parents and educators can teach kids is the 4-7-8 breathing technique, demonstrated here:

Video source: (via


Explore More:

{Amazon Affiliate Links* are in this section.}

• My research into bullying and gifted kids has led me to recognize the power of mindfulness training, which I’ll touch upon in my second book.

• Over in my Amazon Store, I’ve got two virtual “shelves” of interest to parents and educators: Mindfulness and Childhood Bullying and Conflict Management. You’re invited to take a look. (Note that I am especially fond of Trauma-Proofing Your Kids by Levine Kline.) Many of these books may be available in your community or local library.

• For more examples of kid-friendly mindfulness practices, see my Pinterest board.
• On a slight tangent, there’s an interesting article here about the connection between childhood aggression, sleepiness, and sleep apnea.

* FTC Disclosure: As an Amazon Affiliate member, I receive modest compensation for books purchased via these links.


  1. Pamela, thank you! I have been introducing mindfulness techniques and deep breathing to my girls, and the Go Zen site is so helpful. They are going to love the videos. ❤

  2. Pamela, we have reintroduced mindfulness here at our house. I had tried it about a year ago and everyone was far too distracted (the youngest member of our party makes mindfulness a unique challenge, often inserting scary characters or super heroes in my nightly guided meditation). Anyway, I cannot believe what a difference a year makes. My oldest, who is nonstop all day long PASSES OUT when I use guided imagery at night. My husband and I are floored. We’ve also made a fun little worry basket for him, as he’s been waking up nightly with the construction at home. I have a post brewing on all this goodness but it’s still steeping.

    • Love that you’ve had progress. I wonder, too, if the “scary characters” piece has an outlet during the day, like if the youngest is maybe needing to process some ideas for fears? Just a thought.

      Guided meditation is great for grown-ups, too, not only because the kids are more apt to drift off but because it can help all parties “settle” and calm themselves.

      I’m convinced that this intentional, mindful activity is vital to an optimal experience of family life.

      • The youngest is always taking on characters- such an imaginational OE, that guy. I think he tends to go for the scary ones because it gets a rise out of his brother and sister. Knock on wood, he’s the least anxious member of our tribe. He’s on island time- very carefree 🙂

        I’m a huge fan of yoga and meditation myself, and I’ve used it with kids in schools but to this point it hasn’t been successful here. Something clicked and I’m SO happy about it!

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