Mindfulness exercises are a great way to destress and add some relaxation to your life. The two most common mindfulness exercises that probably come to mind are yoga and meditation.
These are excellent techniques to be practicing right now, but sometimes you need to add more creative mindfulness exercises to the mix.
Mindfulness techniques can be added to a variety of activities whether you’re doing them alone, with your kids, or in a group.
Mindfulness exercises for adults
Everyone needs a break now and then, so make sure you’re taking time for yourself during these busy days. Your mindfulness exercise doesn’t have to take a lot of time, it just has to be focused and relaxed.
A long, soothing bath is an excellent mindfulness exercise to do at least once a week or on particularly stressful days. To get the most out of this stress management activity, make sure you have 20 to 30 minutes to yourself. Have your partner watch the kids for this time or put on their favorite movie so you can get some time alone.
Fill your tub with hot, steaming water, add some Epsom salts or bubble bath, light a few candles, and put on soothing music.
Relax into the warm water and ignore your worries for a little while.
This time is for you to focus on the music and the way your body feels sitting in the tub surrounded by bubbles.
The days are tough right now, which is why we could all use a self-compassion pause.
Think about a situation you’re currently struggling with.
Maybe you’ve been having trouble with a relationship or you’re worried about family members who live far away.
Sit and reflect on the situation and allow yourself to feel all of those emotions.
Then tell yourself some variation of these three phrases:
- This is a moment of suffering.
- Suffering is a part of life – I’m not alone in these feelings.
- May I be kind to myself/forgive myself.
Adjust the phrases as they pertain to your situation.
The point is to acknowledge your pain, recognize it’s something other people experience, and then lastly show yourself some much-needed compassion.
Find more self-compassion exercises here courtesy of Dr. Kristin Neff
Fun mindfulness exercises for children
Fun mindfulness exercises can teach your kids how to engage in the present moment and become more aware of their bodies and minds. The problem with a lot of mindfulness techniques, however, is they don’t hold a child’s attention for very long. The exercises listed below take that into consideration.
Help your kids develop a healthy relationship with food by practicing mindful eating.
Mindful eating involves slowing down to not only recognize the taste and texture of foods but also acknowledge how your body feels while you’re eating.
Ask your kids questions about their food to help them pay attention, such as how the food smells and tastes and what the texture is like.
You can also let your kids serve themselves so they can start to understand portion sizes.
Try not to have any distractions at the table so everyone’s attention can be on the food and how it is filling their bodies.
Beats awareness game
The best way to get kids engaged in an activity is to turn it into a game.
The beats awareness game is a fun activity that will hold your child’s attention and get them engaged.
To play, everyone sits in a circle. One person will tap out a short rhythm of three or four beats.
Then, the next person repeats the rhythm while adding something extra at the end.
The pattern continues going around the circle until someone makes a mistake. Then you start over.
The kids will have to avoid distractions if they want to remember the pattern of the beats. If you want more details – read this post on Skilly-do.
Creative mindfulness exercises for groups
Group mindfulness activities are an opportunity to connect with others and share in a fun experience.
It’s also a way to break up the day and do something different as a family besides watching TV.
Get up off the couch and go outside for a little bit.
Find a nature trail near your home or head to an open nature preserve where everyone can spread out. Point out the different types of trees and run your hands over the texture of the bark.
If your family or group needs a bit more structure, then come up with a list of items for people to find while on the walk, such as a heart-shaped leaf, a caterpillar, or a bird with orange feathers.
The list of items will make everyone more focused as they walk along the trail and pay more attention to what is right in front of them.
Check this mindful hiking guide for more details.
Yes, dance can be used as a mindfulness technique.
Start a dance party with your family by creating a playlist that incorporates songs everyone knows and loves. As the songs play, belt out the lyrics and sway to the rhythm of the music.
The point of this exercise is not to worry about how you look or what kind of moves you’re doing.
Instead, release inhibitions and feel the energy in your body as you twirl your arms and jump up and down. Just make sure everyone has enough room so you don’t bump into each other!
There are programs directed at promoting mindfulness through dance, e.g. the Dancing Mindfulness – take a look!
What mindfulness exercises work for you?
Coming up with fun mindfulness exercises is a wonderful way to pause each day and find your center. These techniques are particularly important right now when so many of us are feeling disconnected and off-balance. Bring a bit of peace and creativity to your days by incorporating some of these mindfulness exercises or creating your own.