EASE lesson overview
This is one of three lessons in the Understanding Feelings section of EASE. It raises awareness of how anxiety shows up in the body.
Why teach this?
Physical symptoms of anxiety are more manageable and less distressing when they are understood.
Students will recognize that their bodies automatically react in ways meant to protect them when they feel anxiety.
Read a story or watch a video about the way anxiety feels in the body. Encourage students to make personal connections with the story.
- Grades K–3: Wilma Jean the Worry Machine, by Julia Cook; Listening to My Body, by Gabi Garcia; or a related book of your choice
- Grades 4–7: Video: Fight, Flight, Freeze: Anxiety Explained for Teens; Article: “How Your Body Protects You”
Ask students to create posters—individually or in small groups—that show where anxiety shows up in their bodies. Draw or paint a body outline and cut and paste words or pictures from magazines to show where and how they feel anxiety in their body. (A template is provided in the EASE lesson, which you can download when you complete EASE Online.)
Invite students to share their posters with the group, making note of the similarities and differences between them. Encourage older students to consider the reason for the sensation, thinking back to the fight-flight-freeze response described in the video and in the article.
The way anxiety shows up in your body could be very different from the way it shows up for your students or your colleagues.
Drag and drop the physical symptoms you experience when you feel anxious to the corresponding body parts on the body outline below.
What are some ways to incorporate the skills and knowledge learned in this lesson into your everyday interactions with students? You can get some ideas from others, in Tips from Other Educators, below.
Tips from other educators
“It’s easy to tie the Body Awareness lesson in with other self-regulation programming we use, like Zones of Regulation. The kids have started making connections between each of the colour zones and what happens in their bodies when they’re in each zone.”
“This lesson has given me a new way of ‘checking in’ with my students at various points in the day. I made a giant body outline on the wall and we refer to it before and after different events to get us to pay attention to where our emotions show up physically in our bodies. It’s been interesting to explore the similarities and differences between emotions.”