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Giving Students Brain Breaks Can Help Their Mental Health

Student mental health is the most important thing. It affects their learning capabilities and grasp of the content teachers present. A learner should be psychologically and emotionally fit to learn, and when educators give learners brain breaks, they assist them in becoming more productive in class. 

Brain breaks allow students to revitalize their minds and unblock regions in their brains that aren't functioning correctly due to stress and high-intensity work. A brain break is a short period that allows students to break away from their tedious routine of classroom work and recharge.

Examples of Brain Break Activities

Brain breaks can be categorized as various activities, including:

  • Listening to calming music
  • Coloring
  • Deep breathing
  • Watching calming videos or short clips
  • Doing yoga
  • Fresh air
  • Light exercise or stretching

Feel free to try what works for you, and you may be surprised to see how it affects your class and their ability to learn. 

Effects Brain Breaks have on Learning

There are many benefits to brain breaks. They can boost overall productivity and keep mental strain to a minimum. Other advantages of brain breaks are:

  • Strengthening the teacher-learner relationship
  • Enhancing learners' moods and focus
  • Strengthening the brain maturation process
  • Improving the classroom behavior
  • Improving classroom engagement and cognitive function
  • Improving learners' oxygen circulation that affects their concentration
  • Becoming more active in class

Brain Breaks and the Mental Health

Learners' emotions depend on how they feel about the experiences they go through every day. Emotions have a significant influence on the cognitive process of learners, such as:

  • Problem-solving
  • Reasoning
  • Memory
  • Learning
  • Attention
  • Perception

Brain breaks in education positively influence the learners' emotions. Therefore, brain breaks inspire students to feel happy and relieved from everyday classroom stress, making them more attentive. 

Coping Skills

Having brain breaks while learning allows students to deal with emotions that come their way. Students may find themselves angry, sad, excited, and disappointed, leading to lowered reasoning and problem-solving skills. Teachers enhance coping abilities by allowing students to take brain breaks from playing, drawing, or painting.

Anxiety and Depression

Having brain breaks in the classroom allow students to deal with their fears and worriesFears and worries arise when students face pressure or difficult tasks to solve. Depression makes learners feel sad for an extended period, affecting learners' concentration. Anxiety causes a pupil to overthink and fall into a hole of insecurity.

Brain breaks consume these mental blocks. Activities such as yoga will allow the learner to meditate, strengthening one's learning, reasoning, attention, self-awareness, and memory. Meditation will result in emotional and physical well-being, eliminating many thoughts that crowd the mind to cause stress. 

Developing Social Skills

Students learn essential life skills during long brain breaks. For example, students can socialize and branch out of their normal social circles. This allows them to learn how to manage and control their emotions among various peers.

Divergent thinking can be practiced in these situations, inspiring creativity and imagination when playing or socializing. Academics are important, but so is the mental health of the students.

Tips to Use with Brain Breaks

The first thing a teacher should consider when taking class breaks is the age group. Teenagers require many brain breaks since teens are overloaded with hormones. Younger students also need frequent brain breaks. Their minds are still young, and they need more time to absorb content than older children do. Having some time off the classwork will allow learners to refocus later.

The main takeaway is that brain breaks are for children of all ages. Even adults, I'm looking at you, teachers!

Teachers should transition from classwork to brain breaks like any other lesson. The transitions will allow the students to refresh themselves and concentrate on the following activity that awaits them. Having brain breaks makes academics fun. Students become eager to engage in more educational activities and learn more about essential concepts that they may otherwise tune out of.

Teachers should plan brain breaks just like any other lesson, coordinate them by stating clear instructions and setting brain break rules.

Impact of Brain Breaks on Mental Health

Favorable brain breaks improve self-efficiency in the learning process. They also improve short-term memory, self-awareness, and the learners' knowledge. A brain break of three to five minutes will enable students to concentrate for twenty to thirty minutes, allowing them to learn more than if they had been taught during that time nonstop.

Written by Rosslyn Kati
Education World Contributor
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