Mindfulness

mindfulness written on paper

Mindfulness is the idea of focusing your awareness on the present moment. Benefits of mindfulness include improved well being, reduced stress, better sleep, and more. Mindfulness can happen at any moment, and does not require special training or set-up.

Practicing mindfulness can seem intimidating at first, but it is actually quite simple and easy to get started. Most of these techniques work a little better with closed eyes, but you can do them with your eyes closed or open. Here are some activity ideas to get you started:

Focus on the breath

via GIPHY

  • Try breathing in to the count of four, holding at the top of the inhale for four, breathing out for four, holding at the bottom of your exhale for four, and repeating with another inhale for four  in a circle. This breath technique is called square breathing or the four square breath
  • If you're more visual, try calmly breathing in and out with an image or video.
  • Focus on the sensations of deeply breathing in and out of the body. Where do you most notice your breath: in the stomach? the chest? Do you notice the feeling of air passing the nostrils?
  • Try deep belly breathing with Rosita from Sesame Street

Focus on the senses

  • Notice the sounds, sights, tastes, feelings, and smells around you. Try to find an example of each sense, or just notice what is around you without judgement.
  • Try a meditative snack. Using a melty candy or a raisin, place one of the item in your mouth and slowly allow the candy to melt or start to chew your snack. Notice the sensations of taste, the texture of the item, the feelings that come up as you have your snack.
    • You can do this with a partner, also: have the partner pick a snack without telling you, and place the snack in your hand. From here, you can feel the snack and place it in your own mouth. Maybe you like the taste of the snack? Maybe you don't like this particular snack? Allow yourself to feel these feelings without judgement. 

Be mindful while doing other things

  • Try walking meditation. Notice the feelings of your feet slowly walking, feeling the sensations of the heel, mid-foot, ball of the foot, and the toes, as you step.
  • Get creative with your mindfulness. Maybe try coloring a mandala coloring sheet as a way to slow down and focus on one thing at a time.
  • Try a guided meditation, like those offered through Headspace and Calm.
  • Try mindfulness while doing something else, like doing the dishes. Focus on the sensations of the water, the soap suds, the texture of your dishes and dinnerware. Mindfulness can truly happen anywhere!
  • Learn more about mindfulness with Plymouth-based Reset Brain + Body's Mindful Monday series of videos.

Some things to keep in mind

  • Be gentle with yourself. This is a practice, and you can't mess it up. 
  • Sometimes your mind can be really noisy. This is okay. You can try to gently bring your mind back to the present moment when it wanders, and again: be gentle with yourself. No judgments here. 
  • If you find closing your eyes anxiety-provoking, try mindfulness and meditation techniques while keeping your eyes open. 
  • Many of these mindful techniques work great with children! Try some techniques together as a family. 

Dive deeper into meditation

 

Did you try any of these mindfulness practices? Share your experience on social media with the hashtag #howdoyou62

 

Head back to the 62 Days of Summer home page for more ways to participate in the summer program!