Life is often filled with stressful periods and challenging times. However, one way of relaxing is through mindfulness4. This simple yet effective way of relaxing enables the mind to be fully aware of what is happening in the present moment. It calls on your senses, allowing you to observe what is going on around you. While some may think that practicing and teaching mindfulness is boring, many fun mindfulness exercises can make the entire experience an enjoyable one.
Mindfulness is the ability of an individual to be fully aware of the present moment1. This relates to where they are and what they are doing without becoming anxious or concerned about their surroundings.
While this might seem like a reasonably menial thing, often, we allow our minds to take over. This can lead to a range of mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, and worry. So, by paying attention to the here and now, mindfulness can bring you back to the present moment.
Being mindful allows us to enhance our awareness, and while the mind wanders, it will enable us to bring ourselves back. It can help to improve performance, enhance attention and aid us in being more aware of others around us.
Effectively, when we engage in mindful behavior, we take time for ourselves and pay attention to the mind and how it works. This enables us to experience mindfulness-based stress reduction and lead a peaceful life with greater control.
There have also been many studies that have indicated a wide range of mindfulness health benefits through the reduction of stress and being present.
Further Reading: What Is Mindfulness? How Does Mindfulness Help Us Seize The Day?
At this moment in time, you might feel as though mindfulness is simply meditation. Of course, there are similarities, but they are not the same thing.
There are many different forms of mindfulness meditation, and some incorporate elements of mindfulness. Where guided meditation will help take you on a journey, and walking meditation may help you focus on each step, the mindfulness aspect is being in the present.
You can experience mindful moments at any time, regardless of what you might be doing. Whether you are cleaning, cooking, or working, you are aware of your thoughts, and you notice the feeling of different sensations that you are experiencing in the present.
Related: Check out our top picks of inspiring and motivating mindfulness quotes to find out what the experts and advocates say about mindfulness practice.
Everyone can practice mindfulness. From young children through to the elderly3, everyone can experience the benefits of mindfulness.
You'll find many different ways to incorporate mindfulness as you go about your day. Try some of these fun mindfulness exercises as a great way to get in the habit and start practicing mindfulness.
If you thought that coloring was just for the children, then it is time to think again. In recent times, adult coloring books have become one of the most popular fun mindfulness activities.
Adult coloring books are very different from those for children. The patterns are intricate and detailed, requiring a certain focus on the task at hand. This encourages the presence of the mind. And it doesn't require you to be the best at coloring.
Children can also get involved with their own coloring books. Allow them to get creative while paying attention to what they are doing. The focus will help them to concentrate on the present moment.
Mindfulness is not something that you have to practice alone. This game is perfect for groups and families to practice mindful listening and communication, and it helps people to gain an understanding of what mindfulness is all about.
The game's name is made up of two Dutch words, "Vertel eens" which simply means "tell us more." Therefore, the basis of the game is to converse and answer questions. The game helps players to engage with each other by delving into the questions. This eventually leads to them creating a deeper connection with other players.
The game has four rounds, with rounds one and three based on the past and the future. They look at what has happened over the last 12 months and what the next 12 months could hold. The players can then tell stories where other players can ask questions.
In rounds one and two, players then have the chance to guess things about each other. Here they can win points, with the person with the most points being the winner. It is a fun and interactive game that teaches players mindfulness practices without being too intense.
Again, mindfulness is not just for adults. It is important that we encourage children to try it and become familiar with it. This game helps teach mindfulness to children by providing the chance to try it through body poses. The children are told that they can feel happy, brave, and strong when they do the fun poses.
Find a quiet place that they are familiar with and, in particular, somewhere they feel safe, and then give them specific poses to try.
You can begin with the Superman pose. Where they stand with their feet apart and their fists clenched. They then reach for the sky and stretch as much as possible.
The next pose is the Wonder Woman Pose. Ask the children to stand tall with their legs apart and their hands placed on their hips. After completing the poses, you can ask them how they feel and how their muscles feel in different poses. Their answers will surprise you, but of course, this is more than something just to teach kids mindfulness; the adults can try too if they wish!
This is an exercise that adults and children can enjoy. It begins with a bell being rung and asking all participants to listen to the vibration of the sound. They must remain quiet, and when they stop hearing the bell, they must raise their hands. They then must remain silent for a further minute, focusing on other sounds.
Once the additional minute has ended, it is time to ask about the sounds they heard. This is a great game that can heighten interest in mindfulness and demonstrate its benefits. The game aims to help them connect with the present moment while understanding their perceptions.
This is a classic mindfulness exercise people of all ages can do. However, adopting a similar approach to that of Yoga, being focused on mindful breathing and stretching can help to create a feeling of calm. Children will love getting into strange poses and stretches, while the adults can add relaxing music if they wish.
Stretching and yoga-based mindfulness activities are all about being aware of how the body feels. From muscle relaxation to feeling stress release and each deep breath, this is an exercise that all can enjoy.
Participants will need to lay on their back and then slowly tense up the muscles in the entire body. They then hold this for between 10 and 15 seconds before releasing and relaxing. Take deep breaths during this time, and concentrate on being in the moment.
At this point, you can ask what they felt and whether they could differentiate between feeling tense and feeling calm. This game is perfect for people of all ages, particularly elementary school students, due to its combination of physical activity and mindful awareness.
You can practice this simple mindfulness activity alone or share your experience in groups. It's simple to do; when eating, you explore all your senses to widen your experience of your food. Consider it in your hands; how does it feel? How does it smell and taste? Explore its texture and so on. This activity allows you to savor the moment and explore all of your senses as they relate to the food you're enjoying (or not!).
We have so much natural beauty around us that it offers us the chance to embrace mindfulness uniquely. A mindfulness walk provides the ideal opportunity to focus on the surroundings and sounds2. Take a stroll through a quiet woodland area or large fields and allow the mind to focus on the present. It gives you the chance to embrace the moment in all its glory.
Everyday life can be full of challenges and stresses. We can face these challenges by being aware of our surrounding environment and understanding the feelings that come with being in the moment.
When done regularly, our selection of mindfulness exercises allows us to fix the mind in the present moment. This stops the mind from wandering and fixing past experiences and anxieties. This enables us to realize mindfulness benefits as we deal with challenges through a clear mind and a certain calmness.
This conscious mindset that develops through mindfulness enables us to free ourselves from the inability to focus on the present. This can hold us back, but that change of focus and understanding of positive emotions can increase compassion and enhance our ability to understand others.
However, the art of mindfulness is something people of all ages can enjoy. From a young age, we all face challenges and anxiety at times in our lives.
These mindfulness training games aim to make it an enjoyable experience while encouraging people to practice mindfulness. A simple approach to mindfulness can help to enhance focus and the ability to live in the moment, proving that the mind is a very powerful tool indeed.
|1||Shapiro, S. L., & Carlson, L. E. (2009). The art and science of mindfulness: Integrating mindfulness into psychology and the helping professions. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/11885-000|
|2||Alberto Chiesa, Raffaella Calati, Alessandro Serretti, Does mindfulness training improve cognitive abilities? A systematic review of neuropsychological findings, Clinical Psychology Review, Volume 31, Issue 3, 2011, Pages 449-464, ISSN 0272-7358, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2010.11.003.|
|3||Acceptance and Mindfulness Treatments for Children and Adolescents: A Practitioner's Guide. Laurie Greco, Steven Hayes. New Harbinger Publications, 2 Jul 2008|
|4||Shapiro, S. L., Carlson, L. E., Astin, J. A. and Freedman, B. (2006), Mechanisms of mindfulness. J. Clin. Psychol., 62: 373-386. doi:10.1002/jclp.20237|