Mindfulness: Calming with the Swirling Whirling Swirling


“Mind jars can make you feel calm when you’re really upset.  When you’re really upset it feels like the swirling, the swirling whirling whirling all around.  To be mindful…deep breaths.  A lot of deep breaths…you do a lot of deep breaths until the mind jar just gets clear.  When you take deep breaths it swirls.  And then the swirling stops.  When the swirling stops, you feel calmed down.” – Fiona, age 4 yrs

During our Mindfulness gathering today we shared a discussion about how our bodies feel when we get really upset or frustrated.

“It feels like when someone doesn’t want me to play with them” -Emily

“It feels kinda CRAZY” – Fiona

“It feels mad!” -Cassandra

“It feels like when someone hits” -K


We have been practicing taking a moment to just be still and breathe when we’re upset. When you’re upset or very excited it’s hard to see clearly because your feelings are so BIG and they swirl around and take up a lot of room inside of you.

To feel calm, and not upset, we have to make some room in our minds.

We shook up a  glitter bottle that we had and looked at all the swirling glitter.  You couldn’t see through the bottle, it was all cloudy.  I asked the children to take some deep breaths with me and watch the glitter for a moment.  Sure enough, the glitter separated to the bottom, and the water was clear.  Just like our bodies and minds get clear when we are able to stop and focus on our breathing.

“Learning to drop what we’re doing, however momentarily, and to genuinely pay attention in the present moment, without attachment or bias, helps us become clear, just as a snow globe becomes clear when we stop shaking it and its flakes settle.” -Lama Surya Das

I shared, that sometimes if I have something to focus on,  it helps me to find some space inside, and calm my thoughts.  I showed the children the bottles of seltzer and the glitter, and before I could even suggest what we might do with them, they were invested and ready.

We spent the next hour of the morning making Mind Jars, and watching them swirl. They were used for the rest of the day.

“Quick, I’m feeling really frustrated, I got to get my Mind Jar!” -Cassandra

Cassandra made many trips to get her mind jar today, it wasn’t obvious on the outside, but she said that she needed it, and that it helped her.  She enthusiastically  committed to teaching her brother, and friends in another class all about calming your mind with a Mind Jar.



For more mindfulness activities with children, visit Susan Kaiser Greenland, or our Mindfulness Resources page.


  1. Cassandra’s excitment about the jar continued when she got home. She *did* enthusiastically teach us all it.

    She awoke at night with a sore throat and couldn’t get back to sleep and was frustrated. She immediately asked for the jar. Being tired I was reticent to go find it (it was 3am). But she had put it right beside her bed! She shook it up and watched it. I heard her take some deep breaths and calm herself down and was asleep minutes later.

    • Dear Cassandra,

      I enjoyed making Mind Jars with you and your friends yesterday. Emily and I used them several times when we were feeling like we needed to CALM and have some space with our feelings. It is so neat that focusing on your breathing while you watch the water CLEAR also helps your mind CLEAR. Isn’t it?

      I’m so glad that you were able to use it in the night to help your body CALM and go to sleep.

      It’s a wonderful thing to be able to share what you learn with your family and friends. You can change the world by helping one person learn peaceful practices.

      Lots of love,

  2. Pingback: How To: Make a Mind Jar Rebecca and Andrew

  3. I wish Isaac could have been around for this. Hopefully, he and Cass have talked, like they often do, and she has put him in mind of the mind jar. I’ll do what I can here.

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