From Ashley Heidler, MSN, RN, CPN, manager of pediatric outreach and education at Doylestown Health

Deep breaths! We may not be able to control the things happening around us, but we can control how we respond. Mindfulness can be described as “paying attention on purpose (using your senses) with a kind heart (in a non-judgmental way).” Practicing mindfulness can help bring us back into the present moment, serving as an “anchor” when our thoughts start to swirl. Here are a few helpful tips on practicing mindfulness and to feel better— using your breath, brain, and body!

Breath: Our bodies and brains LOVE Oxygen. Let’s give them that gift, while helping bring our focus to the present moment. Take a deep breath. Slooooowly exhale. (Relax those shoulders!) Now, try breathing in and exhaling out to a count of four. {Breathe In – 2 – 3 – 4…Breathe Out – 2 – 3 – 4}

Brain: Kindness matters—toward others, as well as yourself. You can use your kind words to gently bring yourself back to the present moment. Whatever you need to hear, you can say! It can be anything: “I – Can – Handle – This”, “This – Too – Shall – Pass” or “I – Am – Mindful (Calm? Strong? Healthy?) – Today.” You’ve got this! Don’t want to count numbers with your 4x4 breathing exercise? Use your words instead!

Body: First things first: Soften your forehead. Unclench your jaw. Relax your shoulders. There—feel better? This is a reminder to stop holding tension in your body! Simply “checking in” with your body helps increase awareness. Need movements to get out those wiggles? Try searching online for simple yoga videos—for children AND adults! Or, take a breather; hit “play” on a guided visualization or body scan—many can be found online with a simple Internet search, helping calm the body and mind. No matter what happens around us, we have the tools we need—our breath, our kind words, and our bodies—to help us. Practicing mindfulness helps “anchor” us in the present moment and to feel better.

Be well!