My aim with this post is to describe to you different activities for
Rewards of Mindfulness being – feeling calmer, centred, grounded, happier, and thankful.
Mindfulness is somewhat of a passion, and something I return to again and again.
It’s helped me overcome bad moods, feel grateful for my life, eat better, exercise well, get my post baby body healthy, and generally be a better person.
To say mindfulness has changed my life would be an understatement!
Activities for Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a practice, where you focus your attention on what’s happening in any given moment without judging it.
It’s also called present moment awareness.
Think of mindfulness as an exercise for your mind – but your body benefits from it too.
Without a doubt, it’s an extremely powerful tool for improving your mental health and wellbeing.
But the question is: Can anyone learn to be mindful?
We can all learn to be mindful. Mindfulness is a skill, and like any skill, it can be learned with practice. Practice being we repeat it regularly.
You can use mindfulness to get present, calm and focused in any situation, no matter how challenging. It can help you cope with life’s inevitable ups and downs.
It’s been proven to help with everything from depression and anxiety, to reducing stress and improving sleep.
I’ll share with you my best
Activities for Mindfulness
1. Focusing on sound
I find this the easiest way to practise mindfulness. I do it daily, as it helps me stay calm and connected when my kids are screaming their heads off!
I recommend doing this in a quiet space (contrary to what I said in the last sentence) but as you get more practice in, you can try it in more challenging situations.
But let’s not try to run too fast here. Progress makes perfect.
To begin, find that quiet moment where you’re on your own and no one will disturb you. Sit on a firm chair (i.e. a kitchen chair) with your feet firmly on the ground.
Back straight, shoulders relaxed. Closing your eyes and taking gentle breaths in and out to bring your attention to the moment.
Now, tune your hearing into the furthest away sound you can hear. Wait a few moments to register each sound, and as you hear a sound, simply note it, and listen to it. Focus all your attention on it.
Hold your focus on that far away sound for as long as possible, and when your mind begins to float off (which it will!) bring your attention back to the focus of sound.
You can extend this practice to listening to the sounds closest to you next. Perhaps the sound of your heartbeat or the clock ticking.
Stay with this focus for as long as you feel comfortable.
That may only be 30 seconds, and that’s great. Next time, double it to reach a minute of mindful time. And that’s it! You’ve just been Mindful.
It’s handy to have a notepad or journal nearby to jot down how you feel after your practise. This will help you stay motivated and do more mindfulness practise in future.
2. Focusing on the breath
In a similar way to focusing on sound, with this practise you focus on your breath.
There are all sorts of things you can focus on with this. I like to tune my concentration onto the temperature of the breath as it enters my nostrils. It’s so calming and grounds you in the moment.
You can also focus on the breath as it leaves your nose or mouth. How does it feel? Does it taste of anything? What does it sound like? Bring your senses into the practise here.
3. Fingertips practise
Another great form of mindfulness is focusing on your fingertips. To do this, rub your thumb and forefinger gently together, but with enough pressure that you feel the ridges on your skin pads.
Really key your focus on this, and keep circling the forefinger and thumb together.
Hold your focus as long as you can. Your mind will wander (it’s normal!) so when it does, acknowledge it, say “OK!” and then bring your attention back to your fingers.
4. Focus on your soles
Another mindfulness activity is to focus on the soles of your feet. The best time to do this? In the check out aisle at the supermarket!
While you wait, focus on your feet. You don’t need to close your eyes. Simply focus on the sensation of your soles on the floor.
Rock from tip toe to heel if you like, and tune into the sensation. What do you feel? What’s it like?
You can also do this barefoot in the garden. I like to close my eyes for a few moments on a hot day and feel my feet connecting to the earth. It’s wonderfully relaxing.
5. The nut assessment
This is a form of mindful eating. What you do is you take a nut and you hold it in the palm of your hand.
You look at it closely, assessing the shape, size and outline of the nut. What colour is it? Can you see different shades of colour? Texture? Note it all, but again, don’t judge it. Just accept and acknowledge what you see.
Next, place the nut in your mouth. Roll it around and focus on the feeling, taking care not to swallow it whole! You want to make this practise last as long as possible to reap the rewards.
Then, crunch the nut as you would do normally, still trying to keep your focus on the sensation, the taste and texture.
Mindful eating is a more intentional way of eating, and you can do this with literally any food source.
You can just pick a moment to say to yourself “I’m going to eat this mindfully” and you slow down, focus, and maintain that for as long as you can. Bring in any of your senses to this practise to lengthen the experience.
6. Mindful writing
I would talk about this, because writing is my passion. But honestly, any form of writing, including journaling, can be done mindfully.
Focus on the sensation of the pen on paper. The sound, the appearance, the feeling of pressure from the pen. The feeling in your hands of holding the pen. Whatever you can bring your sharpened focus to is mindful practise in a nutshell.
7. A Flower Petal
As this post is written with Spring in mind, why not try a mindfulness activity with a flower?
Sit with the flower opposite you and look at it, noticing the outline, the size and appearance of the flower. The colour, the texture. Trace your eyes around each petal, noting it as you go. Then move your eyes to the centre of the flower. What changes? Colours? Texture?
Keep the focus. Do this with the very centre of the flower, then tune out again and look at the flower as a whole. Do you now see the flower in greater view? Like you’re really seeing the flower? This is being mindful!
8. Body Scan
I personally find the body scan an advanced mindfulness practise. For this, you scan your whole body, moving slowly up or down, whichever order you prefer, tuning into the body’s sensations.
Start at your head as an example. Tune into the sensations in your head. What do you feel? Is there discomfort anywhere?
When you encounter discomfort, try breathing deeply, while accepting and acknowledging the sensation. Often this can ease the sensation, simply by bringing a sense of calm to the area.
After the head, move slowly down your neck, past your ears, shoulders, down your arms to your hands, chest, abdomen, pelvis, then legs and lastly feet.
Take your time with the body scan – and try to focus as long as possible on the sensations you feel.
Activities for Mindfulness – Tips to help
- It’s a marathon, not a sprint! Try hard not to hurry your mindful moments, as the idea of being mindful is to help calm and relax you. So, take your time…breathe…and stay with the focus.
- Do not judge it! The key with mindfulness is simply to acknowledge what is happening now, in a state of heightened focus. You accept it and carry on being mindful.
- Start small – 1-2 mins of mindfulness, and work up to 5 mins then 10 and so on. By practising daily, you’ll become a more mindful and present person in general life tasks. Mindful washing up and hanging out the laundry are a couple of my favourite chores to be mindful of!
- You may feel really fidgity and uncomfortable and that’s quite normal. Again, go slow and only do short bursts of mindfulness practise.
- Your mind will wander! Again, v normal. Bring it back to the focus when it does wander.
I hope this post helps you become more mindful this Spring!
Pop a comment and let me know whether you try any mindfulness activities, and how they were for you?
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