Mindfulness is gaining popularity to reduce stress, alleviate anxiety, and be more present and engaged in life.
The good news is that incorporating mindfulness activities into your daily routine can be extremely simple, regardless of your age.
Whether you’re an adult, a teen, or a child, almost everything you do can become an opportunity for mindfulness with a bit of forethought.
The daily mindfulness activities listed below provide numerous opportunities to slow down, be present, and become more aware of yourself and your surroundings.
Mindfulness Activities For Adults
Meditation is one of the most common and well-known mindfulness activities for adults. Meditation, while it may appear esoteric or inaccessible, can be effortless.
These exercises are designed to transform ordinary experiences into mindful ones.
Walking meditation is exactly what it sounds like: meditating while walking, usually in a straight line or circle.
You can do it almost anywhere, whether you’re walking to work, taking a walk around the neighbourhood, or hanging out at the park with your kids.
If you’re driving, you can participate in the process by paying attention to the weight of the vehicle beneath you, the texture of the road you’re on, the sound of the tyres against the gravel, and even the shape and feel of the seat against your back.
Then, you can direct your attention to scan your surroundings, becoming aware of other vehicles, lights, and pedestrians along with the terrain, foliage, and skyline. You might even improve your driving skills with practice.
Put your phone on silent, turn off the music, and save your makeup for the parking lot.
You probably guessed (correctly!) that single-tasking is the inverse of multitasking. All that is required is that you fully commit to whatever task you are working on.
When working on the computer, concentrate on one task at a time. Close all browser tabs that aren’t related to the project you’re working on, even if you don’t want to. This can help to clear mental space and may even result in laser focus.
Concentrate on the following to deepen your practice:
- how well you’re breathing
- how your body feels in your seat, or how your feet feel against the floor if you’re standing, how the air or your clothes feel against your skin
- your body’s structure and posture
Mindful eating is a simple way to incorporate mindfulness into something you do every day.
A few simple mindful eating practices, such as listening to the sizzle of your pan and chewing slowly to savour every bite, can help you make mealtimes more mindful.
You could also try the following mindful eating tips:
- Experiment with eating with your non-dominant hand.
- Eat in silence for the first few minutes of your meal, focusing on your food’s flavours, aromas, and texture.
- While you eat, turn off the TV and put your phone away.
Gardening is an excellent way to practise mindfulness while also connecting with nature. Set a simple task for yourself, such as planting seeds or watering flowers.
Place your hand in the soil and feel its texture as you go. Is it coarse or fine? Is it wet or dry? Is it hot or cold? Allow yourself to have fun with the process as if you were a child.
Take note of the weather — not with your mind, but with your senses. Do you have goosebumps from the cold air, or do you have sweat on your brow from the hot sun?
Take note of any other forms of life around you, such as a chirping bird or a chattering squirrel. You’re also likely to come across a worm or roly-poly in the soil.
Mindfulness Activities For Kids
Making mindfulness a game is the best way to introduce it to children. That is exactly what the activities listed below do.
Five Sense Scavenger Hunt
Most kids enjoy a good scavenger hunt, and this one is specifically designed to promote mindfulness by engaging all senses.
All you have to do is create a risk-free environment for exploration. Here are the steps that children should take:
- Listen. Describe one thing you notice when you listen with your ears.
- Look. Describe one thing that catches your eye when you look around.
- Smell. Describe a scent that comes to mind when you take a sniff with your nose.
- Touch. Describe an object that you like to feel with your hands.
If you want to incorporate a sense of taste, simply provide a few kid-friendly snacks and ask kids to name flavours they like, such as sweet, salty, or sour.
Dragon breathing is a fun way to teach children to breathe slowly and deeply. The basic version does not require any supplies, but you can incorporate a fun craft to drive home the lesson.
To maximise the fun, read or make up short stories about dragons to pique everyone’s interest. “The Mindful Dragon,” “There’s a Dragon in Your Book,” and “Train Your Angry Dragon” are all excellent choices.
The short version is:
- Instruct the children to take a deep breath in, filling their stomach and chest.
- When they’re ready, tell them to “breathe out their fire” with a long, slow exhalation.
- If you have a paper on hand, watching the paper blow as the children exhale can be even more entertaining. Simply instruct them to hold it 6 inches away from their mouths and release it as they exhale.
Bubbles are a classic kid’s activity that also serves as an excellent mindfulness practice.
- First, ask the kids to think about what they’re thinking or feeling. You can prompt them by saying things like, “I’m tired” or “I’d like to eat lunch.”
- Demonstrate blowing bubbles and putting your thoughts and feelings inside them metaphorically. For example, “I’m nervous.” I’m going to put that emotion in a bubble and watch it float away.”
- Show how our thoughts and feelings are like bubbles: they rise and float away in the breeze. They even pop now and then.
This exercise is especially beneficial for children who are struggling to let go of unpleasant thoughts or feelings.
In difficult situations, having small reminders can help children practise mindfulness. This is another simple craft that gives kids a tool to use in their daily lives.
Encourage the children to think about activities that help them feel calm, such as drinking water, taking deep breaths, closing their eyes, reading a book, or hugging a friend.
Then, on separate cards, have them draw pictures of these activities. You can also give them printed images to paste.
If the children are able to write, have them label the cards (if not, you can mark for them). Punch holes in the cards and bind them together with yarn or a book ring.
When children are upset, angry, scared, or sad, they can use the cards to help them regulate their emotions and feel better.
Mindfulness Activities For Teens
Teens may appear to be a difficult nut to crack when it comes to mindfulness. Fortunately, many teenagers have interests that can help them gain meaningful access to mindfulness.
For teenagers, music can be an excellent entry point into the world of mindfulness.
Teens only need their favourite music and a place where they won’t be interrupted to practise. Ideally, the music will be something they haven’t heard before. Headphones also work.
Allow them to choose a song of reasonable length on their own. (Perhaps they should save the 15-minute guitar solo for another occasion.)
Then they can simply relax and listen to the music. They may inquire:
- What sensations do I have in my body as I listen?
- What new sounds can I hear that I wasn’t aware of before?
- How does the rhythm of the music affect my breathing?
Teens can get in their bodies and let loose, releasing pent-up energy and allowing for self-expression through movement. It is yet another method of incorporating mindfulness that makes use of music, so it may be especially appealing to teenagers.
Mindful movement is defined as moving the body in time to music without thinking about dance moves or appearance. It’s just free-form music interpretation.
There is no way to get this wrong. It’s simply expressing how the music makes you feel.
Shaking is another enjoyable way to combine movement and mindfulness that does not require the use of music.
This is also known as a TRE (tension and trauma release exercise).
Puzzles are not only a great way to sharpen one’s mind, but they are also a mindfulness practice. They require concentration, attention to detail, and mental presence while also being enjoyable and rewarding.
They are as follows:
- jigsaw puzzles
- word finds
- spot the differences
Teens may enjoy puzzles without even realising they are practising mindfulness. They can ask the following questions to elicit reflection:
- What does it feel like in my body when I’m frustrated?
- How does my body react when I solve a new puzzle piece? How does my heart rate fluctuate?
- How am I breathing differently now than when I first started playing?
Teens and apps, if stereotypes are to be believed, go hand in hand. Fortunately, there are several practices used toward teens that engagingly teach mindfulness.
Mindfulness Activities For Anxiety
A 2013 study found that mindfulness meditation may help with the symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder. To ground and calm yourself, try the practises listed below.
Body scan meditation is a relaxing and straightforward technique for calming the mind and body. It entails scanning your body mindfully for sensations such as pain or tension.
Simply lie down, relax your body, and tune in to your feelings to practise.
Tracking is an experiencing somatic technique that can help you feel grounded and present in your environment. This is accomplished by looking around the room and mindfully observing objects.
Box breathing is a technique for calming the nervous system that involves taking full, deep breaths. It is also referred to as four-square breathing.
Acceptance and Self-Compassion
Anxiety is frequently accompanied by resistance and fear of the pressure itself. Accepting anxiety is one way to loosen its grip on you. This can be as simple as recasting anxiety as a strength rather than a weakness.
When you do this, you may find it easier to let go of self-blame or shame for having anxiety in the first place.
The Bottom Line
Almost anything you do in your daily life can be used to engage in mindfulness activities. It is not intended to be a separate entity from reality but rather an integral and enriching part of it.
Try these mindfulness activities to bring presence, calm, and connection into your daily life.