Singer and songwriter Jewel began a mindfulness practice when she was just a kid, long before she’d heard the word “mindful.” Self-taught meditations and visualizations, journaling, and the practice of observing her thoughts and choosing healthier ones, were survival tools she used to navigate a chaotic family life and then, later, the anxiety-filled teenage years living on her own. She still uses them today.
Her digital platform, JewelNeverBroken.com, shares these and other easy-to-learn practices, like Counting Breath and Box Breathing meditations, to support others to help find calm, to build emotional fitness, and to create happiness in their own lives. (Jewel demonstrates the Counting Breath and Box Breathing meditations in the video above.)
“They’re very simple, doable tasks, if you really have the desire to change, and you’re willing to look in the mirror and say ‘Happiness is up to me and not anybody else,’” she says.
“People are anxious because they don’t have a good echo-feedback system. How can you hear your intuition speaking to you—it’s a very quiet whisper—if you have so much anxiety? It’s like having this radio station that is on static constantly.”
“People are anxious because they don’t have a good echo-feedback system,” she continues. “How can you hear your intuition speaking to you—it’s a very quiet whisper—if you have so much anxiety? It’s like having this radio station that is on static constantly. You can’t ask yourself questions like, What do I think is right? Should I do this or do that, without your anxiety kicking in. So you’ve got to calm the anxiety down enough that you can get your own echo-feedback system going.”
This philosophy is at the core of the work she does with the Inspiring Children’s Foundation, where she serves a mentor. “I’ve been teaching [the children] to get behind the steering wheel of their lives, instead of the steering wheel being on autopilot, which it’ll do if you’re not conscious of what you’re thinking,” she says. “I teach them that you don’t have to over-identify with your thoughts, and that you don’t have to believe every thought that comes to your head. If you can create a gap before you have a thought, that’s mindfulness. The bigger that gap is, you now have a chance to bring your values to bear, your humanity bear, bring your education to bear, and you can take a different action.”