If you’re reading this, you might have already heard a lot of good stories about mindfulness and meditation. Your close friends talk about it, your colleagues swear by it and the internet is continuously convincing you to give it a try.
But let’s be honest, mindfulness is a difficult practice to form a habit of – especially in the very busy world that we live in today.
Our world is so fast-paced it’s almost impossible to give yourself just five minutes to take a break. It seems that we are all in an endless race trying to chase after something instead of actually living our lives. Not many of us have the luxury of even a few minutes a day to sit back and relax.
Does this sound like you too? When was the last time you stopped whatever you were doing just to give yourself a much-deserved break?
As you may already know, it’s important for our physical, mental and spiritual health to slow down and take a deep breath.
But how can one utilize mindfulness when it is so difficult to sit still, let alone empty the mind?
A lot of us like to blame it on how today’s society operates and we fail to realize that we possess the power to control how we live our lives.
This is not to say that we can manipulate certain events as there will still be bad days ahead of us. But we can always choose how we want to respond to whatever happens to us.
Using Mindfulness as a Way to Respond
In order to begin the practice of being mindful, it is important to look at it as a way of responding to whatever is happening around us.
But alternatively, what most of us tend to do is to simply react to the things that come our way.
The difference between responding and reacting is that our reactions are driven by our emotions. Responding to something, on the other hand, is how we react after thinking through what actually happened.
This is why simply reacting to something is more often than not the source of our stress and anxieties.
Mindfulness can help us avoid draining our energy pointlessly. Now you must be wondering how does one cultivate the habit of mindfulness?
Luckily, there are plenty of fun mindfulness exercises for you to try. You’ll be surprised how these game-like exercises can actually help you become more mindful.
But before we dive into them, below are some reasons why you should try them out. Hopefully, they will give you enough reason to start these exercises today.
Why You Should Do Mindfulness Exercises
It Creates A Habit
As we have already mentioned above, doing fun mindful exercises can help you cultivate a practice into a regular habit. Some people say that it takes an average of 21 to 60 days in order to form a habit.
Of course, there is no exact number of days that will work for everyone. The duration depends on a person’s character and the habit they are looking to keep.
The main point is to give yourself some ample time to make mindfulness into a habit. Doing fun mindful exercises won’t bore you during this period and will eventually help you stay committed.
And when things don’t go your way and you’ve lost your streak, don’t be too hard on yourself!
It’s not always about how long you can keep up but rather how willing and persevering you are to pick yourself up after a fall.
It Makes the Process Enjoyable
A diet won’t last especially if the menu is composed of food you don’t enjoy. Sure, there’s something admiring about downing a green smoothie even if you despise it. But it’s not going to leave a positive impression on you and it will be more likely for you to break the habit out of resentment.
No matter if you are trying to lose weight or to finally quit smoking, the process will be easier if it is made into something more enjoyable.
The same thing goes for mindfulness. Even if you force to sit still, you won’t be getting the same results as someone who actually enjoys the practice.
Fun mindfulness exercises make the practice easy and more approachable for beginners.
You Can Discover New Things
Many of the fun mindfulness exercises listed below might be new to you, and that is always a good thing.
Mindfulness opens up a lot of possibilities for you – a healthier lifestyle, more headspace and a regained control of your own thoughts and emotions.
But did you know that it could also help you find new hobbies?
One of the many enjoyable things about these mindfulness exercises is that it helps you not only discover new things about your surroundings, it also puts a spotlight on yourself.
When we are too busy dealing with other things, we tend to let ourselves go and close off ourselves from the world. The worst thing about it is that we often don’t realize what we are doing until it’s too late!
Use these fun mindfulness exercises to rebuild a connection with yourself.
You Learn to Be More Flexible
When you discover and try new things, you are finally leaving your comfort zone and actually challenging yourself to learn something new.
Flexibility is something that can’t be learned once.
You need to continuously expose yourself to something you aren’t comfortable with in order to become more flexible. Trying out new things is one way to do this.
Getting stuck in a rut is natural. All of us have gone something which might seem difficult to get over. But with the help of being more flexible, one can learn how to shape oneself as a way to cope with their pain and anger.
There’s a quote that says, “The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances.” True enough, we cannot let the bad events in our lives break us but instead, form us into becoming better people in the future.
You ‘ll Find Out What Works For You
Some find that some of these mindful exercises may not appear to be fun or interesting at all.
But you’ll never know until you’ve tried so for yourself. And if you still disagree, feel free to move on to the next activity.
You are bound to find something that works for you if you just keep on searching. Don’t let one disappointment keep you from finding the right option for you.
Some people tend to stop trying when they are faced with so many mistakes and failures. But just as Thomas Edison says, “It’s not that I have failed. I just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
If you think about it closely enough, you’ll realize that there is actually no such thing as failure. Every time we make a mistake, we end up learning something new.
The same concept goes for trying these mindful exercises. If you think you’ve tried every mindfulness trick in the book, keep on going. You’ll never know what you’ll find.
Choosing between Group Exercises vs Individual Exercises
Now that you know how mindfulness exercises help you, let’s dive into some examples. There are actually two ways on how you can begin.
Some people like to do these exercises with a group while others prefer a more personal journey. Either way, both routes will eventually take you further towards your mindfulness goals.
Of course, you are free to do both types of activities at the same time. But if you want to know which one is best suited for you, take a step back and review why you want to become more mindful in the first place.
Is it a way for you to connect more with others? Or is it about giving yourself the much-needed attention you deserve?
If you’ve chosen option A, then you will definitely benefit more from a group. And if you are looking at option B, a personal route is for you.
4 Best Fun Mindfulness Exercises
1. Adult Coloring Books
Due to their popularity, you might have already seen adult coloring books on the shelves of your local store. While they may look like a more complex and detailed version of a kid’s coloring book, adult coloring books are said to relieve stress and help you gain focus.
As you color the pictures, your brain actually enters into a meditative state without you even realizing it. Your stress level becomes low and you also regain your focus as you try to keep your coloring within the lines.
2. Morning Pages
Writing Morning Pages have become quite popular recently. This method was first introduced in Julia Cameron’s book entitled “The Artist’s Way”. In her book, she teaches her readers how to regain their creativity and to dispel the fears that hold them back.
The premise is simple: write down all your thoughts as they pass through your mind on paper.
There is no right or wrong way to do this and it shouldn’t take so much of an effort to keep up.
Through this method, you are actually clearing your thoughts by simply pouring your thoughts onto paper.
Not only will you be able to have some headspace, you can also keep a record of your daily thoughts. Some new details about yourself might be revealed.
3. Five Senses
One simple mindfulness exercise which you can do anywhere and anytime is the Five Senses exercise. As the name suggests, this method uses all of your five senses to help you be in the moment. All you need is some quiet place and a bit of your time.
To start using this method, simply give yourself some time to engage with your surroundings through the five senses. Below are some steps to help you through the process:
● You might want to start with your sense of hearing. Focus on the sounds that are occurring around you. Can you identify what they are? Even if you are in a very quiet room, emerge yourself in the silence.
● Next, pay attention to the different smells around you. Is it coming from your own perfume? Or the air diffuser in the room?
● Then, shift your concentration to your sense of sight. Close your eyes for a moment and open them once again. Take a look at the surroundings around you and try to find things that draw your attention. Could it be the painting on the wall? Or the collection of figurines in the shelf?
● The sense of taste is the trickiest one of the five, especially if you have no food nearby. If you have a snack or any kind of food within your reach, feel free to take a bite and notice its flavors and textures. However, if you have no access to these, simply draw your attention to your mouth. Perhaps take notice of how you swallow or if your mouth has any aftertaste from a snack you’ve recently had.
● Last but not least, focus on your sense of touch. Grab something nearby or simply place your hands on your lap. Feel the texture of the object you’ve chosen or the fabric of your clothes. Notice how it feels on your skin. If you like, you may also use your feet to notice the texture of the ground you are on as well.
Another way for you to clear your thoughts is by decluttering. Did you know that the amount of clutter you have doesn’t just represent your current lifestyle, but it is also a reflection of your own mind?
They say that a person with an unorganized home is more likely to have an equally unorganized mind.
To begin this exercise, simply get rid of things that are no longer needed. These can be anything from the garbage you have yet to throw out or items in your home that remind you of some painful memories.
Decluttering doesn’t just give you a healthier living space, but it also helps your mind clear out unwanted thoughts.
Cultivating mindfulness in our everyday lives is never easy but it’s also not impossible. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from living a better life.
Allow yourself to enjoy the advantages of mindfulness by opting for a more fun and approachable way to do your practice.
There are plenty of fun mindfulness exercises out there for you to try. Simply choose one and start today!
Allen Wei is someone who believes in living his best life, focusing on balance, happiness, and relaxation. He fosters a positive lifestyle in terms of his body, mind, and environment, and he is a huge proponent of learning to be balanced via relaxation techniques integrated into our busy lives.