Ishku!!!! Mindfulness Activities to Feel Grounded Anytime, Anywhere

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Mindfulness can help reduce stress, soothe anxiety, increase concentration, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, ease pain—and you can practice mindfulness without meditating on a cushion (although you can do that too). Any activity can be done mindfully if you’re focused on whatever is happening in the present moment: scents, sounds, tastes, textures, or your emotional and physical responses.

What Is Mindfulness?“When we practice mindfulness, we’re practicing paying attention to sensations, feelings, and thoughts with an attitude of kindness,” says Jen Johnson, MS, MFA, LCMHC, a mindfulness coach and therapist. “We are practicing allowing whatever is here to be as it is, without judging it and without becoming entangled in wanting it to be otherwise.”

We asked Johnson and some other mindfulness experts for ideas on activities you can do right now to bring you back to the present.
Mindfulness Activities for Anyone From Jen Johnson, therapist and author of Everyday Mindful:

1. Go birding. Head to a city park, an open field, a beach, or your own backyard, attuning your senses to spot the birds that surround you. Notice their individual patterns and songs, and your own sensations and thoughts as you observe them.

2. Take a nature walk. Listen to the leaves crumpling underfoot. Feel your feet on the earth and the wind on your skin. Take in the trees, flowers, grass, sky, clouds.

3. Keep a nature journal. Take a notebook and pen on your walk, and write about what you see, hear, feel, smell, or taste, as well as your emotions and thoughts.

4. Take photos. Capture people, places, or things in your everyday life that are meaningful to you or bring you joy. As you take the photographs and look at the images, reflect on why you find them meaningful or joyful, honing in on minute details and specific emotions. Notice whether your sense of joy or happiness increases.

5. Tend a garden (or just one plant). Feel the dirt on your hands, the texture of the leaves. Notice the colors of the plants or flowers. Consider the bigger picture: If you have an outdoor garden, choosing native plants will support your local pollinators and ecosystem–insects, birds, butterflies—that are necessary to grow your food.

6. Drink tea. Notice your thoughts as you prepare it, and the flavors and sensation of heat, warmth, or coolness in your mouth as you sip.

7. Make a bowl. You don’t need sculpting experience. Just buy a small box of hand-building clay, and every morning, make a small bowl that fits in the palm of your hand. Try to practice seeing whatever you make with kindness, just allowing it to be as it is without any judgment. Then fold the clay back into a ball and place it into a sealed bag or container to keep it moist. Repeat the practice daily for several weeks, and see what new insights arise.

8. Cook or bake. Try something you’ve never made before, focusing on the actions of stirring and chopping, the scents that start to fill your kitchen. Then sit down and really savor your creation.

9. Watch a movie or TV program that’s not in your native language. Notice how you become more attuned to the characters’ facial expressions and gestures instead of their words.

10. Listen to music. Try lo-fi hip-hop or meditation music, like the Jazz Vibes or Flute Meditations playlists on Spotify.

11. Go for a drive. Instead of listening to music or a podcast, focus on the noises in your environment, the other cars and their drivers, the changing landscape.

12. Color in a coloring book. Notice your thoughts when you decide which color should go where, the smell and feel of your crayons, the feeling of satisfaction when your masterpiece is complete.

13. Go barefoot. Step outside and stand in the grass for a few minutes, feeling the coolness and texture under your toes.

14. Play with your pet. Give them your undivided attention, absorbing their excitement or joy, and the way they can exist in the moment.

15. Have a picnic. Try to savor the flavors and textures of every bite. Does the food taste different when you eat it outdoors?

16. Make a handmade card for a friend. Notice the emotions that come up as you imagine what your friend would like, and the feeling of satisfaction as you create it.

17. Skip stones. Go to a beach, a lake, or a pond, and look for rocks to skip. Which ones are the perfect size and shape? How do the stones feel in your hands? Which throwing angle and speed work best? Watch the rings you create, widening on the surface of the water.

18. Observe the stars. Search for constellations, or simply take in the vastness of the sky.

19. Wake up earlier. Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier than usual so you can climb out of bed in peace, allowing your mind to wake up slowly without being jolted or rushed.

20. Stretch your body. Give each limb consideration, noticing where you feel tight, achy, or stiff. Breathe into those areas as you release.

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