Simple Mindfulness Exercise For You To Try (Beyond Meditation)
I have been influenced by mindfulness for a long time in fact my master’s thesis was also on the same theme. But there is one constant hiccup that I encounter every time I try to make mindfulness a part of my lifestyle and that is- Meditation is Not My Cup of Tea!
But hey, I don’t want to miss the benefits of mindfulness in life. So, I wore my research glasses and went to explore different ways to practice mindfulness with NO MEDITATION involved. After all, why should meditation lovers have all the fun!
Well if you are sailing with me on this ship, don’t worry I got you covered! I am sharing the best mindfulness exercises with you that have three amazing features to offer:
- They are super simple.
- They don’t involve meditation.
- They won’t take more than 5 minutes of yours.
Exciting right? So buckle up buddies we are going to set ourselves up for a mindfulness-based living!
11 Best Mindfulness Exercises Beyond Meditation
1. Mindfulness Exercises From Therapy
Various therapies incorporate mindfulness-based exercises to help the client heal holistically and connect with the greater self. One such therapy that has made mindfulness a part of it is dialectical behavior therapy. Here are five of my favorite DBT mindfulness exercises.
DBT Mindfulness Activity 1: Observe A Leaf
To practice, this mindfulness exercise all you have to do is give a leaf your undivided attention for a minimum of 5 minutes. You can pick any leaf from anywhere, as long as it is not artificial it will serve the purpose. Now hold the leaf in your hand and observe it for 5 minutes, look at its colors, patterns, texture, and beauty.
DBT Mindfulness Activity 2: Stare at the Centre
Even before I knew that staring at a center is a mindfulness activity I will be honest by saying that I used to practice it to calm myself down.
To practice this exercise all you have to do is stare at the center. Observe how patterns change and flow effortlessly. The best part is that you can let your mind wander here.
In fact, welcome these thoughts and notice them but don’t hook onto them for a ride in the past! Think of your wandering thoughts as flowing water they will come and pass by.
If you have ever tried the Candle Gazing Meditation (Trataka) you will be able to relate to this one.
Mini Mindfulness Meditation To Feel Grounded
DBT Mindfulness Activity 3: The Bell Exercise
The bell exercise helps stay grounded and rooted at the moment. For this mindfulness exercise, you begin by closing your eyes firmly and listen to the cue (the bell sound).
At the very moment when you hear it concentrate your attention on the sound. Continue this process of concentrating on the cue until it fades out completely. You can use the video below to give this mindfulness exercise a shot.
DBT Mindfulness Activity 4: Using Your Non-dominant Hand
Again a mindfulness exercise that will help you in multiple ways. Before I share the benefits exercise has to offer to you let us first understand how you can practice it.
Create a positive affirming and encouraging statement 10 times with the hand that you don’t use for writing (non-dominant hand). For example, if I am a lefty I will write it down with my right hand. Be engaged in the process, let go of judgments or frustrations. Just focus on the efforts that you are putting in to make it work.
Now talking of the benefits, this exercise will make you more mindful, improve your left or right side of the brain (depending on your dominant hand), and help you practice a positive activity in your life.
Hey, if you can’t think of any positive or encouraging phrase please feel free to use these blogs:
DBT Mindfulness Activity 5: Watch People
Okay please don’t get me wrong here, I am not asking you to stalk someone or make the others around you feel awkward with all the gazes and stares.
Here is how you can practice this mindfulness exercise:
Sit calmly and be a watcher. Watch people come and go, sit and chill, or just stand there doing nothing. Just keep the judgments away, be in the moment, and just observe with your senses engaged.
2. Mindfulness Exercises For All Senses
What is mindfulness without having all your senses being in the “here and now.” The mindfulness technique that we are going to discuss now will involve all or some of your senses.
The Raisin Exercise
If you ever plan to learn mindfulness through a certificate course (like I did) you are sure to begin your mindfulness journey with Raisin Eating Exercise.
- Here you get a few raisins but pick only one.
- Now observe it as if it’s the first time you are seeing a raisin in your whole life (with curiosity).
- Touch it and pay attention to its texture, how it feels.
- Take it closer to your nose and smell it. Does it smell sweet or neutral or has a small hint of grape to it, notice it.
- Next, put it in your mouth (don’t chew yet(, Roll it over your tongue, experience it moving, and pay attention to its texture.
- Finally, take a bite of it and observe its taste on your tongue.
Apart from raisins, you can pick any other food item that you like a piece of chocolate or a chip. Just make sure you give your 5 minutes and all your senses in this process of eating.
The 5-4-3-2-1 Tool
This is my go-to tool for times when life goes on a fast-forward mode or the overwhelming feelings weigh me down. This exercise involves all your senses, it is the quickest tool to practice mindfulness, and it keeps anxiety away from you! Making it a complete win-win mindfulness technique. The formula behind this mindfulness exercise is simple:
- Name 5 things you can see.
- Name 4 things you can touch.
- Name 3 things you can hear.
- Name 2 things you can smell.
- Name 1 thing you can taste.
How often do you pay attention to your breathing pattern? Rare right! One of the most important factors that keep us alive is given such little attention. That is why I love practicing mindfulness as it makes you think of big and small things that make a big difference in our lives.
Coming back to our point! We are not even mindful of breath and that is why it is suggested that once in every hour you should give 5 minutes of yours to mindful breathing. You can either use this mindful breathing video that we are sharing with you here or just follow these steps to be mindful of your breath through counting Breath exercise:
- Count each breath of yours as you breathe in and out.
- Every time breathe in count one, as you breathe out count 2, so on and so forth.
- Keep going on for at least 5 minutes. You can also count till 20 and then start from 1 again.
- Eventually, you will see all the stressful thoughts leaving your brain space and you will be just in the moment focusing on your breath alone.
When I was reading about mindful seeing I came across this beautiful line:
“Meditation does not need to be done with your eyes closed.” And my heart shouted BINGO! that‘s what I am talking about! So here is how you can practice mindful meditation with your eyes open.
- Find a space that offers you a view of the outside world.
- Sit there and look at the view. Observe everything you can see and instead of categorizing them or labeling them, analyse their patterns, textures, and colors.
- Now look at the movement of the things that are a part of your vision. Stay curious and enjoy the vision as if it’s the first time you are getting to see all this.
- If your mind wanders, gently get it back to the moment and start noticing the colors, shapes, textures, and movement that is there in your frame.
- Be gentle to yourself and to the process.
Now that we have given each of our senses a little treat of mindfulness why miss on our ears!
You don’t even need to be alone and by yourself to practice mindful listening. Follow these steps to give mindful listening a shot!
- Take a pause from whatever you are doing right now.
- Now take two deep breaths and dive into communication with someone.
- Listen to what the other person has to say without any judgments, criticism, and urge to reply to them. Be there just to practice mindfulness.
- Are you making a sense of what they are saying? Ask yourself! If you need clarification to understand a particular thing that they have to share. After all, we don’t want our judgments to take over us.
- Finally, reflect back to them what you heard. This gives them the message that you have been listening to them all this while and tells you that you are being mindful!
Mindfulness Exercises To Try Around the Clock
Looking at the time-table we usually have, we have nearly 14-15 hours with us in a day when we are active. In these active hours of ours, we can practice mindfulness, every given hour.
So here I am sharing some simple mindfulness exercises with you that you can practice around the clock.
- Wake up early.
- Take a mindful shower.
- Have a healthy breakfast and be mindful of what you are eating.
- Everytime you find yourself lost or overwhelmed just take 3 minutes of mindful breathing break.
- Create a 3-minute breathing space. Wherein in the 1st minute, you ask yourself “how are you doing?”, the second minute is spent on being aware of your breath, and use the final minute to expand your attention to notice how breath affects your body.
- Look in the mirror and smile at yourself.
- Write down your thoughts and feelings (even 1 sentence or a minute will do).
- Recite a positive affirmation or mantra at least 5 times to root yourself back to the moment.
- Take a musical break.
- Laugh it out loud.
- Give yourself a nice massage.
- Declutter your space (a little space will also do).
- Define 3 goals at the beginning of your day.
- Tell yourself 3 things you are grateful on a given day, right before you go to bed.
Other Mindfulness technique for you to Try
That’s all folks!!!
See didn’t I tell you that this mindfulness technique will be super easy, fun, and quick ones. Now put aside your bag full of excuses and just give 5 minutes of your daily schedule to mindfulness.
Don’t forget to share with us your favorite mindfulness exercise, that you are going to try right after reading this blog! I will go first: 5-4-3-2-1 is my go-to mindfulness tool. We will be waiting for your response!
Thank you for reading!