As you develop your mindfulness routine, discovering new mindfulness activities for adults is vital for exercising the mind and keeping things fresh.
Mindfulness enables us to develop a heightened sense of awareness of our surroundings, appreciate life and loved ones, and better connect with ourselves.
Whether you’re looking for mindfulness activities for adults to improve yourself or others, we hope this article will help get you started.
As busy adults, developing a mindfulness routine is one of life’s greatest challenges, especially if you have kids!
Adulting is hard, but finding mindfulness activities for adults doesn’t have to be. MindPanda’s Mindfulness Starter Pack has everything you need to get started, including a journal and helpful cards to guide you.
Although there is no right or wrong way to practice mindfulness, you must be consistent to succeed. While you can alternate which adult mindfulness activities you choose, it’s essential, you set aside time daily to practice. Reaping the benefits of mindfulness and meditation requires commitment and repetition.
5 Mindfulness Activities for Adults
The idea of mindfulness is straightforward, be present and aware of your surroundings. So, whichever mindfulness activity you choose, keep that premise in mind.
What you will notice is that we often use mundane, everyday tasks for mindfulness activities. What we’re trying to do is bring awareness to our subconscious mind.
Mindful Eating Exercise
Mindful eating is a simple introduction to mindfulness and developing a sense of heightened awareness.
Studies have shown that mindful eating may also be an effective way to reduce food cravings, which can be both bad for our health and stressful.
This mindful eating activity should take around 5 – 10 minutes to complete and engages all of your senses. All you will need is a raisin and a quiet place to focus.
Parts of this exercise might feel silly, but embrace the activity with a child-like curiosity.
- 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?
- 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. Now 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?
You may think this is a ridiculous 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.
Mindful breathing is another simple exercise anyone can practice. This breathing exercise might feel like meditation, and it is in a sense, but instead of letting go, we’re increasing our awareness.
Find somewhere quiet to sit and focus for 5 – 10 minutes. You can sit or lie down for this mindful breathing exercise.
- Place one hand on your waistband and the other on your chest bone. This hand 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, making your belly expand once you’ve inhaled as much as you comfortably can, pause again.
- Breathe out through your mouth and notice your belly drawing in. Pause again.
- Repeat steps 2 – 4 for the rest of your available time. Take time to notice how you feel, how your body changes and reacts to each inhalation and exhalation.
The mind will invariably start to wander throughout this breathing exercise; this is normal. When you notice the mind has wandered, bring the attention back to your breathing, body movement, and sensations and emotions you are feeling.
Once you’ve practised this a few times, consider experimenting. Try other positions (sitting or standing). Imagine that your breath has different colours. For example, blue for the cool air you’re breathing in and red for the warm air you’re breathing out.
Mindful Stress Ball Exercise
Touch is another tense intuitive sense controlled by our subconscious that we often take for granted.
For this exercise, you will need an aromatherapy stress ball to engage your sense of touch and smell.
Find a quiet place to sit or lie down where you won’t be disturbed. Throughout this exercise, be intentionally slow and curious.
- Hold the stress ball, close your eyes and begin by focusing on your breath until you feel calm and relaxed.
- Now bring your attention to the ball in your hand, but keep awareness on your breath. Without squeezing, feel the texture of the ball. What does it feel like in your palm? Is it heavy? How does it fit in the palm?
- Now gently squeeze the stress ball. Notice how the shape changes in your palm. Continue to press and release while still maintaining an awareness of your breath.
- Remember to be slow and curious. There is no rush.
Notice how your arm and body changes as you work the stress ball in your palm. How is the ball’s shape different each time? Do you begin to notice the aroma released from the ball? What feeling or emotion does that smell evoke?
This mindful stress ball exercise can be incredibly soothing and could even be used as a way to unwind before bed.
Creativity is an excellent mindfulness activity for adults. As we get older, we spend little or no time on creative projects. Creativity is a perfect opportunity to practice being present and mindful.
For this exercise, we’ll let you choose the activity. Some examples might be painting, woodwork, writing, arranging flowers, photography, whatever.
The goal of mindful creativity is to be present, so no mobile phones, TV, radio, or other distractions. If you want to listen to music, make sure there won’t be any ads or news broadcasts. The goal is to be focused on your creative activity without any outside influence.
Again, you want to approach mindful creativity with curiosity. For a holistic experience, you might want to journal about your activity afterwards.
- What feelings or emotions did you feel while creating?
- What sensations did you experience (touch, smell, etc.)?
- What did you find challenging, and why?
- What did you love about the experience?
We often think of mindfulness as sitting quietly alone, but mindfulness activities aren’t confined in this way. Here is a quick video about being mindful while outside on a walk or simply sitting in your garden.
What you will notice throughout these mindful activities is a focus on being present and aware. Approaching mindful activities for adults with a child-like curiosity will help facilitate that sense of awareness.
Hopefully, by practising these simple activities, you can begin to be more mindful in everyday life. As Sharon Salzberg said, “Mindfulness isn’t hard; we just need to remember to do it.”
Mindfulness Activities for Adults FAQ’s
The most simple mindfulness activity is simply being aware of your breath. But mindfulness is about being present and aware, so once you develop the practice, you will become mindful in every facet of life.
The easiest way to practice mindfulness throughout the day is to use curiosity and awareness.
For example, when you sit down at your desk, take a moment to notice how your body feels against the chair. Notice what you can see, smell, and hear around you. Notice where your PC is on your desk and what it feels like to reach out and touch the keyboard.
When you have time, try this mindful practice with as many seemly mundane tasks as you can.
The short answer is yes, mindfulness activities work. There have many studies about the effects of mindfulness, most notably on its impact on reducing stress.
A simple mindfulness breathing exercise is a great way to reduce anxiety. This exercise is easier said than done, especially when you’re experiencing a heightened sense of stress or anxiety. That’s why mindfulness is a long-term strategy rather than a quick fix when you’re feeling most stressed. By practising mindfulness daily, you can reduce those heightened feelings of stress and anxiety.