If you're looking at the title and thinking, “What exactly is mindfulness anyway?” let's nail that down before we dive into the fun stuff.
Briefly put, mindfulness is when you fully experiencing the present moment, while noticing (without judgment) your thoughts and feelings.
That's the definition you'll find in most dictionaries. But what can it do for you?
And how can you make it a bigger part of your life — and the lives of people you care about?
These 11 mindfulness group exercises for adults can help.
Some of these mindfulness activities work great with kids, too.
Fun Mindfulness Exercises for Groups
Some mindfulness exercises will be more fun than others, while some will yield tangible results (as well as those you feel).
We'll start with the fun mindfulness exercises and work our way to the more challenging, creative ones.
I hope some become your go-to group exercises. All are worth trying at least once.
1. 5-4-3-2-1 Exercise
This is also called the “Five Things Exercise,” and it works as well for children and teens as for adults.
You can do this on your own or take turns with others in a group.
2. Mindful Nature Walk
You and couple of friends or a small group can enjoy taking a nature walk together while noticing the details around you.
Take turns making observations or keep your thoughts to yourselves as you walk together to share later.
Use all of your senses and pay mindful attention to . . .
Spending time in nature has therapeutic effects on its own.
But adding a mindfulness practice compounds those effects by making you more aware of them — and thus better able to consciously enjoy them.
After you walk together as a group, have a discussion in which you share your experiences and the impact mindful walking made on each of you.
3. Beats Awareness Game
Sit around in a circle for this one. The person who begins taps out a short rhythm. The next person repeats the rhythm and adds something extra.
This keeps on until someone fails to repeat the pattern tapped out by the person before them. That person's new job is to try and distract the others while they try to build and pass on a new rhythm.
The goal is to keep your attention focused on the beat and to not be distracted by anything or anyone. The game continues until only one person is left.
4. Mindful Relationship Presence
Practicing mindfulness in all of your relationships and interactions can be transformative, both for you and the other person.
You will feel focused and engaged, and you may discover there's much more to this person than you once thought.
You'll have an authentic connection that grounds you in the moment.
The other person will notice your presence and will be inspired to connect more deeply themselves. They will feel heard, appreciated, and respected.
You can practice relationship presence with anyone by simply tuning in to them. Look them in the eyes, smile, and use your body language to show you are engaged.
In a group setting, you can pair up and practice mindful listening with each other or sit in a circle and take turns talking. The next person in turn can summarize what the previous person said before saying their own piece.
Don't distract yourself with your phone, computer, or the other people around you. For the time you are interacting with them, the other person should have your full attention.
5. Eating Mindfulness
Sit with your family and/or friends in a quiet, distraction-free place — at a table or in a circular arrangement.
You can play music to set a particular mood, as long as it doesn't adversely effect someone's ability to enjoy the meal.
The following tips can also help you make this meal an exercise in mindfulness:
When you eat mindfully, not only will you savor the experience of eating, but also you support proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Studies show eating slowly leads to improved satiety and reduced calorie intake.
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Creative Mindfulness Exercises for Groups
There are ways to practice mindfulness that also yield longer-lasting results — some tangible and others you take with you wherever you go.
All of these creative mindfulness exercises for groups can help you build better connections with others. And all of them can help you become a better and happier person.
Give them all a try to see which of them you enjoy the most. You can practice most of these exercises on your own if you can't round up a friend or two to practice with you.
6. Adult Coloring
Add mindfulness and a group of friends or family members, and you multiply the results while developing your mindfulness practice and reducing stress and anxiety.
You can find dozens of adult mindfulness coloring books online, or design your own coloring pages by creating mandalas or zentangles to color.
If you want to make the activity more mindful, pay attention to what your senses are picking up as you work — what you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste.
To make this more of a sensory experience, feel free to add the following:
If you enjoy dancing, this can be an ideal mindfulness group activity.
You feel your muscles working and your lungs filling with oxygen and exhaling.
You hear the music, which guides your movements (along with the dance instructor).
And the more skilled you become, the more you can enjoy seeing yourself and your group when you dance a favorite routine.
Pay attention to your emotions and thoughts while you dance, too. They'll likely change from the first session to the fifth.
Wherever you start with yoga — and whatever you might think of it at first — there's a reason millions practice it every week (and many every day).
The movements and postures promote restorative breathing and gentle stretching, and they build strength and improve flexibility.
But the focus of yoga goes beyond the body to calm and heal the mind.
And from there, if reaches the soul to build healthier connections between the parts of your whole being.
Practicing mindfulness during yoga can only amplify its effects and accelerate this integration.
And that can only help you form better connections with others — including the others in your yoga group.
9. Group Meditation
Meditation is another practice you can do in a group as well as alone.
Mindfulness meditation blends the benefits of both to create a space of full presence in the midst of busyness and distraction.
The goal here isn't to empty your mind of thoughts but rather to be more aware of what you're thinking, sensing, and feeling in the moment.
The goal is to be more aware of the now — the only reality that exists.
The fruits of this practice are conscious awareness of the present moment, greater peace of soul and healthier coping strategies, which make you better equipped to deal with the stress in your life.
10. Team Tarot
This one might not appeal to everyone, but if you're looking for a practice that will help you build a stronger connection to your intuition and listen more closely to your inner wisdom, you'll find plenty to love about tarot.
When you start out, you'll likely refer to a guide for help with interpreting your card or your spread. Nothing wrong with that.
The more confident you become with your intuitive grasp of each card's message, the less you'll need to consult that guide when reading for yourself or for someone else.
For team tarot, you can either sit in a circle and take turns as the tarot reader for the person on your right (or left,), or you can pair up and read tarot spreads for each other (one spread at a time).
11. Challenge Your Beliefs
This may not look like it belongs in a post on creative mindful activities, but there are benefits to discussing your beliefs with others in a safe environment.
When you all agree to speak from your heart about a topic of mutual interest — and to respect each other's contribution to the discussion — you can train yourself to be more empathetic and understanding as well as to question your own beliefs.
In articulating what you believe and why, you'll notice the tiniest gaps and sensitive areas.
And since those make you feel more vulnerable, your only choices are to avoid talking about them (with anyone, ever) or to look at them more closely – with or without anyone else's input.
When you add mindfulness to this, you train yourself to pay closer attention to what your senses and intuition are telling you when someone else is talking.
What are you picking up that they're not saying with words? And what are others noticing when you talk?
How will you use these mindful group activities?
Now that you've had a chance to look over these 11 mindful group activities, which of them would you like to try first?
However you decide to practice mindfulness — alone and with others — I hope this article helps you make it a defining part of your daily life.
Practicing mindfulness can only make you more conscious of the way you're living each day. And that can lead to necessary changes and better choices.
You deserve to set aside some time each day for cultivating mindfulness, if only for the calm oasis in the chaos of your day.
May your next exercise in mindfulness bless you and everyone you share it with.