Practicing mindfulness can decrease stress, increase productivity, contribute to overall health, and more. Whether you add mindfulness exercises to classes you teach or to workplace teams, these types of activities can benefit groups of all kinds. Try the some of following mindfulness exercises for groups to help your class or team feel more centered, focused, and intentional!
Best Mindfulness Exercises for Groups
Try the some of following mindfulness exercises for groups to help your class or team feel more centered, focused, and intentional!
Five Senses Exercises
The Five Senses Exercise is one of many simple mindfulness exercises for groups. Through a few straightforward prompts from a facilitator, participants will bring their attention to each of their five senses. To run this activity with your group, start by having everyone sit or stand in a circle. Then, give your group the following prompts:
- Identify 5 things you can see. This may mean having your group bring their attention to things on the wall, examining what the floor looks like, or focusing their sight on any other tiny details they can see.
- What are 4 things you can feel? Have your group draw their attention to the feeling of the clothes against their skin, the feeling of the ground beneath their feet, or any other sensations they may be experiencing.
- Bring your attention to 3 things you can hear. Prompt your group to bring their full attention to the facilitator’s voice or the sound of nearby cars on the road.
- Think about 2 things you can smell. What does the air in the room smell like? Can your group smell nearby plants or other soft smells they do not always notice?
- What is 1 thing you can taste? This may be a sip of water, the taste of a piece of gum, or even the air your group is breathing.
This is a great introductory mindfulness exercise for groups. Your group members can explore the basics of mindfulness by simply bringing their attention to the things around them. For workplace departments, sports teams, and other types of groups the five senses exercise creates a quick and easy-to-facilitate introduction to mindfulness that can be built upon in the future. This activity can be done individually as well!
The Raisin Exercise
The Raisin Exercise, a group mindfulness exercise recommended by the Positive Psychology Program, is an easy introduction to mindful eating. Start by passing out a raisin to each participant. Then, have each person in your group pretend they have never seen a raisin before. Ask your group members to bring their full attention to the raisin and clear everything else from their minds. Prompt each person to identify how the raisin feels, tastes, smells, and any other characteristics of the small fruit.
Because it is centered around mindfulness and food, The Raisin Exercise opens the door to mindful eating which can help you eat healthier, find more pleasure in food, and more. Note that this exercise can be done with any type of food, but using anything with a novel smell, taste, or texture is recommended!
Journaling is an ideal group mindfulness exercise for all ages. Exploring various prompts is a great way to bring your group’s attention to specific thoughts and feelings. To get started, have your group take out a pen and paper and explore some of the following prompts:
- Describe your breakfast in detail
- Draw a happy memory
- One strong feeling I experienced today was…
- When I go to bed tonight, I will feel…
- One thing I am grateful for is… (or start a whole gratitude journal!)
If you would like to make journaling a more group-centric activity, have your group pair-up and share their thoughts with a partner after they write. If you are planning to have your group share their thoughts, it is often best to let them know ahead of time so they write about something they are comfortable sharing; or, make sharing optional!
Listen and Draw
Listen and draw is a great mindfulness exercise for groups who wish to practice mindful communication. Before starting this activity, print out a few images or cut out a few from magazines; these can be images of anything! Then, have your group pair off. If there is an odd number, feel free to have the facilitator also participate in the activity.
Once everyone is in groups of two, one partner will describe the image in detail to the other. As one partner is explaining the image, the other will do their best draw that same picture as the first partner describes it to them. This activity will help partners communicate with intention and practice active listening.
The Body Scan should also be on your list of mindfulness exercises for groups. Whether in a yoga class, at a work retreat, or sports team practice, this activity can help participants slow their breathing, relax, and hone their focus on very specific things. Use the following steps to practice this exercise:
- Have your group lie on their backs with their palms facing up. Everyone should lie still, sink into their breath, and bring their full attention to the air going in and out of their lungs.
- The facilitator will then have the group bring their attention to small details they hear and things they feel such as the clothes against their skin, the ground beneath them, and soft sounds in the surrounding area.
- Next, the facilitator will have their group bring attention and breath to each part of their body, starting with their toes and working their way up to the crown of their head.
- Once your group has completed this full body exercise, have your group take a few breaths in silence.
- To end the activity, slowly have your group bring awareness to their limbs, then their full bodies, and slowly sit up.
Adult Coloring Books
Coloring books are not just for kids! Coloring has many benefits for adults including relieving stress, increasing self-esteem, and decreasing anxiety. This type of mindfulness exercise enables participants to free their mind from impending thoughts and focus on the simple task in front of them. Coloring is also a chance to explore creativity while avoiding the paralysis many experience when given a blank page and being told to “draw something.” This is another exercise that can be done on your own. Many adult coloring books are available for purchase, or you can print individual pages for free on Pinterest!