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Fight Stress with Mindful Breathing

The Family Fit Plan helps families optimize health and well being with a focus on 5 key areas - nutrition, physical activity, sleep, screen time, and stress management. Week 2 of the plan focuses on managing stress by mastering mindfulness -- something many of us are not all that good at, but that is proven to provide significant benefits in many areas of life. Mindfulness meditation decreases depression, anxiety, and pain symptoms in adults as effectively as medications. The same is very likely to be true in kids, though less studies are available to 'prove' it.

See for yourself by taking just a minute or two each day to add this mindful breathing activity to your day.

Mindful Breathing 101

1. Close your eyes.

2. Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Notice each breath. While you take deep breaths in, expand your stomach as if it is a balloon. As you exhale imagine you are released air from a balloon.

3. Repeat for a total of 10 breaths.

Teach your kids to incorporate mindful breathing into their lives by practicing the STOP activity whenever they get angry, stressed, or emotional.

STOP Activity

S- Stop what you are doing.

T - Take 2-3 deep (mindful) breaths.

O- Observe your emotions and your body's response. Name what you are feeling to yourself. Notice your body's physical reaction (hear racing, tears welling)

P - Proceed with your response.

This mindful pause between a 'trigger' and a reaction helps all of us better manage emotions, decrease the likelihood of saying or doing something we will regret later, and overall helps improve behavior and overall well being.


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