Jewel with foundation teens

Jewel’s Mindfulness Techniques

Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, Executive Producer and featured interview Jewel Kilcher shares in the film, available to watch here, a number of mindfulness techniques she taught herself as a homelessteenager.

The power of “Hands”:

Before she became famous, Jewel was living on the streets in San Diego. She was suffering from panic attacks and her mind was racing with self-defeating thoughts. She’d never heard of the word mindfulness. She just knew she needed something to help calm her mind and regain control of her life.

Jewel says in the film, “I had to develop a lot of strategies while I was homeless to survive. How to rewire a lot of these self-defeating thoughts that I had. What was I thinking? Could you choose your thoughts? I began to look at curating my thoughts much more carefully than I cared about any other thing. I decided to start watching my hands because the hands are the servants of your thought. By forcing myself to be observant in real time of my hands, I made myself present in the moment. When I did that, my anxiety calmed down. That put me in the driver’s seat. It meant I wasn’t a victim of my brain.”  That present moment awareness and the belief that she could change her own life became key themes in her popular song “Hands.”

Antidote thoughts:

Another of Jewel’s techniques is called “antidote thoughts” which she describes this way: “A thought that plagued me a lot was that I didn’t know what I was doing. That would send me into a tail spin multiple times in my life. I would just start by coming up with what is the opposite of that. The opposite is I know what I’m doing. Well that was a lie. But I was capable of learning. So that became my antidote. I’m capable of learning and I won’t give up until I do.” Can you create an antidote thought for something you’re struggling with?

Never broken:

Jewel shares these present moment awareness techniques and others for free at She also teaches them to at-risk kids as part of her Jewel Never Broken program at the Inspiring Children Foundation which is featured in the film. The never broken philosophy came from another difficult time in her life. She says, “I decided to approach myself not from the premise that I was broken and I had to be fixed but instead from the premise that a soul can’t be broken. I existed perfectly at all times but I was covered in generations of hurt. I really, more than fix myself, I had to do an archaeological dig back to myself. When I approached things that way healing happened a lot quicker.”

More than meditation:

Jewel’s present moment awareness techniques are an important reminder that meditation is not the only way to develop a mindful quality of attention. You can walk, brush your teeth, do the dishes, deeply listen to someone else, or do anything mindfully by focusing on the present moment without judgement, being aware of the thoughts, feelings, sensations that arise, and, if your mind wanders, then gently return your focus to what you’re doing.

For more information, inspiring stories of personal transformation and examples of mindfulness helping people of all ages and backgrounds, check out our movie here. It’s already been seen in 90+ countries, is available with subtitles in many languages and includes 4 free bonus videos.

Read more here about what mindfulness is & how it’s different than meditation.

A curated list of books by Jewel & other experts in the film — U.S. orders

Please note: the producers of The Mindfulness Movement may receive an affiliate commission from books purchased through the links above. is a non-profit that supports independent bookstores.