Chances are the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has you and your family stressed out and anxious. A great way to alleviate some of these feelings is through practicing mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?

  • Mindfulness is all about living fully in the present moment, without judgment, and with an attitude of kindness and curiosity.
  • It’s about breathing, noticing what’s happening right here and now, sending a gentle smile to whatever you’re experiencing in this moment (whether it’s easy or difficult), and then letting it go.
  • You can be mindful anytime, anywhere, no matter what you’re doing.
  • It can be short (a few deep breaths) or a longer session.
  • The more you do it, the easier it becomes!

Mindful resources

Online resources

Apps

  • Calm
  • MyCalm Beat
  • Headspace
  • Grow
  • Stop, Breathe & Think
  • Insight Timer
  • Mindful Mynah
  • Tactical Breather

Examples of mindful exercises

Below are different mindful exercises you can do with your child.

Breathing

5-count breath

  • Breathe into a count of 5
  • Breathe out to a count of 5
  • Repeat 10 times

4-7-8 breath

  • Breathe in to a count of 4
  • HOLD your breath to a count of 7
  • Breathe out to a count of 8
  • Repeat 3 times

Body scan breathing

  • Sit in a comfortable posture, with your spine upright and your shoulders rolled down and back. Close your eyes, if that feels comfortable for you, and just allow your breath to be natural….
  • As best you can, bring your attention to your breath, noticing when you are breathing in…and when you are breathing out….
  • See if you can notice what your breath feels like in your nose, as the air goes in your nose, and then comes out over the lips….
  • See if you can notice what your breath feels like in your chest, perhaps sensing the gentle expansion of the chest on the inhale, and the fall of the chest on the exhale…. If you’d like, see if you can notice what your breath feels like in your belly, noticing how the belly expands as you inhale, and softens as you exhale….
  • Try to let your attention rest on your breath, wherever YOU notice it most….
  • When you’re ready, you can open your eyes.

Autogenic training

Repeat each statement 3 times, repeat sequence 2-3 times.

  • My feet and legs are heavy and warm.
  • My hands and arms are heavy and warm.
  • My heartbeat is calm and regular.
  • My breathing is easy and free.
  • My belly is soft and relaxed.
  • My forehead is cool.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shana Jacobs Shana Jacobs, MD, is a member of the Leukemia/Lymphoma Program and the Pediatric Advanced Needs Assessment and Care Team (PANDA). Dr. Jacobs' clinical focus is on leukemia and lymphoma and she has an interest in palliative and supportive care.

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Posts from Shana Jacobs, MD