If you are new to mindfulness and don’t know where to start, I find these activities to be at the root of my practice and great basics with which to begin. All of these can be done in under 5 minutes!
A Check-In is where you take a purposeful moment to pause and reflect on how you are feeling in the here and now. I often say to check in with your head, your heart, your body.
HEAD: Where are your thoughts? Are you focused on one thing or juggling many?
HEART: How are you feeling? What emotions are you experiencing right now?
BODY: How do you feel physically? Sore, tired, jittery, at ease?
Going through all three gives you a solid overall understanding of where you are and root you to that very moment. Click here for more on Check-Ins!
A body scan is focused on tuning in to your physical body, which works so hard and we often take for granted. It can be a great way to relax and calm your body at the end of a day. One basic body scan is to imagine a ball of light slowly moving its way up from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. You can also imagine the ball of light as warm or cold and see how that changes the sensation. Make sure you move slowly and "visit" each part of your body. Another variation is to tighten and release each part of the body as you move up from your toes. After a stressful day, this can be very effective to get yourself ready to rest.
Our senses are often used in mindfulness, and this is a favorite exercise of mine. It’s something I come back to often, particularly in moments of anxiety or stress when I need something to ground me to the present and the environment around me. Wherever you are, pause and note the following: 5 things you can see; 4 things you can touch; 3 things you can hear; 2 things you can smell; 1 thing you can taste. Because of the concrete nature of this exercise, it can be great for those new to mindfulness or unsure of how to check in more independently.
All of these activities have many variations and can be done by yourself or with a classroom of kids. Try experimenting with them to see which you connect with the most!