Mindful Practices for Resilience
Nurturing Resilience

Barbara Brody, Toiresa Frazier, Shannon Tierney Lipscomb and Megan Pratt
PNW 760 | February 2022 |

Resilience is adapting positively to life’s challenges. Resilience is for everyone. We nurture resilience by caring for ourselves and each other.

What we know

Our bodies have stress response systems to deal with threats (Fight! Flee! Freeze!).

Stress can feel like: a rapid or pounding heart, fast or shallow breathing, tense muscles, and feelings of fear, anxiety, anger, shame, or numbness.

Trauma can get the alert system stuck on high; we feel threatened even when the threat is gone. This makes it hard to learn, connect with others, manage emotions and fight off diseases.

What can we do?

Practice mindfulness to help turn down the alert for yourself and children in your life. Try these and find ones that work for you: take a quiet walk; sit outside and watch a tree or bug; doodle; listen to the birds or calming music; practice yoga or meditation.

Mindful practices help calm our stress response system. They help to regulate heart rate and breathing. They strengthen our immune system to fight off disease, and help us practice balance and flexibility to meet life’s challenges.

Boy squatting to breathe in, standing to exhale. Girl laying down, watching teddy bear rise and fall on chest.

Breathing is a powerful way to reduce stress

Take a deep breath. In ... out. You did it!
When we practice with children, it helps us all to become calm!

Volcano breaths

Start in a standing position. Breathe in as you crouch down, with hands together at your heart. Breathe out as you stand up. Open your arms above your head like an exploding volcano!

Peekaboo breathing

Lay down on your back with a stuffed animal on your belly. Breathe in deeply and slowly, watching the animal rise up and down. As the animal rises, you can say “Peekaboo!”

Breathing games

Smell a flower. Blow a pinwheel. Blow a cotton ball across a smooth counter or floor. Help your kids make up their own breathing games!

Books that can help you learn to practice mindfulness

  • Tummy Ride: Calming Breaths for Little Ones by Whitney Stewart
  • Moody Cow Meditates by Kerry MacLean
  • Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerry MacLean
  • Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by JoAnn Deak

For more information on trauma-informed care for children, visit Roots of Resilience.

About the authors

Shannon Tierney Lipscomb
Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, Human Development and Family Sciences
Oregon State University

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