Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Lisa Van Getson, APRN, DNP, FNP-C

Second Advisor

Brianna Darcy, DNP, APRN, CNS


This scholarly work recognizes the profound impact of toxic stress on children as a result of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). According to the MDH (2011), ACEs are the main contributor to toxic stress within children. ACEs include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, mental illness of a household member, drug or drinking problems of a household member, divorce or separation of parents, domestic violence between adults in the household, and incarceration of a household member (MDH, 2011). Fifty-five percent of Minnesotans experience at least one adverse childhood experience during childhood. Results of toxic stress can include impaired brain development, behavioral problems, and chronic illnesses later in life (White, 2014). With ACEs being such a profound issue, MDH (2011) identified the need to focus on the presence of protective factors to mitigate the consequences of ACEs. A key component of individual protective factors is resilience (MDH, 2011). This project focuses on building resiliency in early childhood through mindfulness to prevent toxic stress. Margaret Newman’s (1999) Health as Expanding Consciousness (HEC) Theory and the concept of presence created through mindfulness are the foundation for this project. The project was implemented in a second-grade classroom in Southern Minnesota and focused on breathing techniques, mind jar meditation, as well as the book Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerry MacLean (2004). The results of the project demonstrated an increase in self-confidence, one of the 7 “C’s” in building resilience (“Building Resilience in Children,” 2014). It is with mindfulness, resilience, and presence that the effects of ACEs and toxic stress will be mitigated.


SC 11.DNP.2022.Buck.K