Mindfulness: Think & Breathe

Mindfulness: Think & Breathe

Moms are often the glue that holds the family together­—caring for children and spouses, working a full-time job, running the household, and managing the family’s never-ending social calendar.

Moms feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, or depressed don’t have to struggle silently. They can learn practical skills to slow down, recharge, and center themselves that can come to aid in the most hectic of moments, say when the toddler has colored the dog with markers or traffic is derailing an appointment.

“I see a lot of people that come here for help with anxiety,” says Audrey Slough, LCSW, an outpatient psychotherapist at St. Luke’s University Health Network. “People say, ‘I’m overwhelmed.’ We see a lot of moms here.”

She suggests busy moms adopt mindfulness practices to help with day-to-day stress and anxiety. Slough says Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, defines the practice as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.” 

“I teach it, I also practice it,” Slough says. “It helps you observe and be in the present moment.”

Slough notes that mindfulness is not the same as meditation and can be done anywhere, anytime. The way to begin is by breathing and noticing how you breathe.  

“It’s about slowing down your breathing and observing your five senses and physical sensations,” Slough says.

Ask yourself what you’re feeling. What sounds do you hear? What smells do you smell? What can you see, taste, touch—and what are you feeling in your body? Is there pain or discomfort; hunger or thirst; any thoughts that arise?

“Getting out of your head, out of your worry state, you become more aware of what’s going on in your mind and body,” Slough says. “It gets you out of auto-pilot, so you can respond wisely.”

And that’s an important skill to have when the toilet overflows, your alarm clock doesn’t go off, or your toddler is having a tantrum in the grocery store.

Slough uses the word “notice” to remind herself to be mindful in daily life or stressful situations.

“Mindfulness teaches us that emotions are temporary, they’re not dangerous,” Slough says.

To schedule an appointment to develop mindfulness practices or to make an appointment for individual, group, family, or couples therapy, contact St. Luke’s Behavioral Health Outpatient Services at 484-526-3012.


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