What are the best mindfulness exercises for groups? Here are the things useful for mindfulness practice, for individuals or as a group.
A word that has been going around a lot lately and has been used in all kinds of statements i.e. weight loss, handling life problems, etc. Mindfulness is a kind of meditation that requires you to give full attention on your breathing. By paying attention to each breath, one becomes fully aware of their thoughts and surroundings. Mindfulness draws you in the moment. It makes one a keen observer without having judgements or criticisms along with their observations, keeping an open mind. And it also helps in eliminating negative thoughts even before you dwell on it deeply.
Because of this, it is no surprise that for business workshops, employee training modules, etc. creative mindfulness is a new method of exercise for a lot of people. And today, we will be discussing different mindfulness exercises that can be used for group therapy.
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” – Jon Kabat Zinn
The best way to master mindfulness is knowing the basics. Breathing plays a big role on how one reacts to any situation or experience. Which makes proper breathing control important in any situation. And the exercise for it is simple and easy.
You can choose ask the group to choose whether to sit down or stand up. Once they have chosen, begin by asking them to inhale and exhale slowly. Make each round at least 6 seconds each. Inhaling will be done through the nose and exhaling out through the mouth. Make it slow and steady, and not forced.
While doing this, free yourself from the thoughts running through your head at the moment. Pay attention only to your breathing. Let go of negative feelings and thoughts.
Congratulations! You have now just meditated and is one step closer to a mindfulness life!
It takes one’s full attention to be able to familiarize yourself to the sounds around you.
For this, “beats game” would be the perfect fun mindfulness game that would push the group to set aside the different kinds of distractions and only focusing on the beats included in the pattern.
Ask the group to form a circle. A person must start it by making a sound, beat or rhythm that should be repeated by the succeeding person with an additional beat. And the process goes on. In short, the first person creates a sound, the next copies and adds another sound to the pattern. When a person misses one beat, they will be out and ask to find ways to distract the remaining people in the group.
This trains the mind to focus on one thing. Shutting out everything else and focusing on the beat pattern, not the person creating the sound, not the people who were removed that are distracting you, not how you dislike one of the beats, but what you are focusing on is solely the pattern of the beats.
Being aware and knowing the things around you are important in any situation. This exercise might look childish but is still counted as a mindfulness game for adults.
The game is called “Shout a name!” Everyone should be in a circle. Person 1 would start by shouting a name of a famous person and by pointing to another random person. Person2 would then say a name of another famous person that has the first letter of the last name of the previously mentioned famous person.
Person 1: Chris Evans!!! (Points to someone)
Person 2: Emma Watson!!! (Points to someone)
And so on and so forth.
As simple as it sounds, the faster the pace gets and the more people who point out randomly, the more it requires to be attentive to the names being mentioned and while adapting to the fastening pace.
This would be the favorite game of everyone in the group. That is for sure! Appreciation can only be truly done, when every aspect is fully analyzed and understood. Connecting all the different aspects and making sense of how each one is unique but together creates harmony.
Beforehand, ask everyone in the group to bring one small kind of food they enjoy eating. For example: Hershey’s kisses, raisins, candy, etc. And during the group therapy, for this game ask them to place the food in front of them. Have them get one piece but just feel and smell it for about a couple of seconds. Ask them to think about its physical aspects. And then instruct them to place the food inside their mouth BUT without chewing it yet. Ask them to further analyze its features. And after, this is when you ask them to chew.
The perfect group therapy mindfulness activity! This would encourage the individuals in the group to analyze everything that they experience, see every aspect in order to understand and to fully appreciate.
There is a reason why mindfulness is slowly becoming a type of meditation that most people want to exercise not only as individuals but also in groups.
Mindfulness can improve one’s well-being by helping a person become more engaged in the situation they are in and making them treasure each pleasure as it occurs. Stress would also be handled easier because one learns how to take things slowly and separate the bad from the good. Continuous practice of mindfulness games would soon result to quick but calm and planned out solutions during the time one is encountered with a problem.
Cultivating our awareness to our surroundings is an exercise that would make coping and adapting to any situation easier. We become fully aware of what is happening and we focus on it. Mindfulness helps a person on how not to be constrained by negative thoughts or feelings or experiences that would hinder having a peace and clear mind. Mindfulness games are simple and easy to do but not easy to apply regularly. It will take lots of practice and quite some time. So, it’s better to start early, start now.