Welcome to your next dose of mindfulness. Together, we’ll practice being fully present in the moment. And reap the benefits of less anxiety, better sleep and wellbeing. Mindfulness activities for adults are a great way to have some time to yourself and take the pressure off daily life.
Let’s start as we mean to go on. Take a moment to notice your surroundings. What can you hear? I’m getting: plane overhead, husband washing up, someone playing music over the fence. What can you see, feel, smell? Taking a moment out to pay attention to your surroundings is a great first step.
Getting into a mindful routine is a challenge. We get it, because we’ve been there. One successful meditation feels fantastic. But how can you get more of the benefits on a regular basis? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
And mindfulness is much easier when you’re not overcommitting yourself. In the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn: ‘Saying yes to more things than we can actually manage to be present for with integrity and ease of being is, in effect, saying no to all those things and people and places we have already said yes to.’ In other words, if you say yes to everything, you won’t be able to do any of it as well as you’d like to. Mindfulness needs stillness.
Daily meditations are great, but sometimes it feels good to switch things up. So we’d like to share three mindfulness activities for adults that have worked for us. And not a digital device in sight. All those notifications? No one can be ‘present’ that often.
Idea number 1: the raisin exercise
Our first exercise in our mindfulness activities for adults list is a classic for a reason. If you’re getting into a ‘mindfulness rut’, switching things up is a good way to get back on track. Emotional and distracted eating is also a common cause of weight gain. Studies have shown that mindfulness can help. What would your life feel like if you embraced mindful eating?
So, you’ll need 5-10 minutes of free time – and a raisin or two. This exercise engages all of your senses. Here’s how you go about it:
- Hold the raisin between your index finger and thumb. Imagine that you’ve never seen a raisin before and give it your full attention. Focus on its shape, colour and texture.
- Start moving the raisin between your fingers. Squeeze it a little and see how squishy it is (or isn’t). Maybe close your eyes to help you focus.
- Now, hold the raisin under your nose and take a sniff. What does it smell like?
And you may think this is a serious amount of attention to give a piece of dried fruit. Do you feel a little silly? Is your mind wandering? Acknowledge your feelings, but don’t get distracted. Trying new things is good for us, which is why this exercise is often used in mindfulness courses.
- Pop the raisin in your mouth. Don’t chew – hold it in your mouth for at least 10 seconds. Explore it with your tongue. Notice the texture and temperature. What does it feel like to wait before chewing?
- When you’re ready, start chewing. Take one or two bites and give the taste your full attention. Take your time – and don’t swallow. Notice the taste and texture of the raisin in your mouth and how it changes over time. Then swallow, noticing the physical sensation. How do you feel now? And what would your life be like all of your meals were more like this?
Idea number 2: deep breathing
When we’re feeling stressed, our breathing becomes more shallow. Unsurprisingly, this isn’t a recipe for feeling great. Taking time to learn a breathing exercise pays off at those times when you most need a moment’s calm. Like practising an emergency manoeuvre for our minds.
So you’ll need 5-10 minutes – and that’s it. Here’s how you go about it:
- Find a comfortable position. Maybe you’d even like to lie down to start with. Place one hand on your waistband and the other on your chest bone. This will help you to notice how deep or shallow your breathing is.
- Open your mouth and gently breathe out. Let your shoulders and upper body relax. Pause for a few seconds.
- With your mouth closed, breathe in slowly through your nose. This should make your belly expand. Once you’ve inhaled as much as you comfortably can, pause again.
- Breathe out through your mouth and notice your belly pulling in. Pause again. Now rinse and repeat for the rest of your available time. How do you feel now?
And don’t worry if your thoughts start wandering, it’s completely normal. Each time you notice it, pull your attention back to focusing on your breath. Once you’ve practised this a few times, you could try other positions (sitting or standing). For an added twist, imagine that your in-breath and out-breath have different colours. For example, blue for the cool air you’re breathing in and red for the warm air you’re breathing out.
Taking a deep breath works wonders in all kinds of situations. And it’s even better if you’ve worked out beforehand what to do.
Looking for a tool to help with this exercise? Check out our Aromatherapy Stress Balls for an easy way to calm down quickly.
Idea number 3: the alien game
True, this is a bit of a curveball. But we wanted to show that mindfulness doesn’t have to be super-serious. It’s also great if you have the kids under your feet and want to get them involved.
How often do we drift through our day on auto-pilot? This game makes sure you really pay attention to your surroundings – and the people in it. Plus it’s great fun.
Here’s how it works:
- Imagine that you’re an alien. Give yourself an alien name and, if you like, a new look. But this is the important bit: remember that you don’t know anything about earth or its inhabitants.
- Start to explore your new environment. What can you discover about it? Who lives here? What objects will help you to survive?
- When you meet non-alien, try to be inconspicuous. Observe them closely and copy their behaviours. For example, if you’re out and about, try to walk at the same speed. Or adopt behaviours like talking into your phone.
This exercise helps you to be more observant, without judgement. It’s great for getting your creativity flowing and looking at things with fresh eyes. Imagine what we can learn with this much attention.
Sharon Salzberg said ‘Mindfulness isn’t hard, we just need to remember to do it’. We hope you’ll enjoy these mindfulness activities for adults. And that they’ll help you to find some stillness in your new lockdown routine. See you later, meditator!