Mindfulness is about focusing attention on the present, rather than focusing on the future.
Mindfulness for emotional wellbeing
Research shows that mindfulness:
- increases self-awareness, social awareness, and self-confidence
- increases emotional self-regulation
- reduces the severity of depression, anxiety and ADHD
- builds resilience.
Outside where possible
Your backyard or balcony can become a place for you to practice quiet reflection and focus your thoughts. Alternatives for inside activities are also available in case you don't have either.
Try some of the following:
Plant herbs or do some weeding.
Think about the texture of the soil and each plant you touch.
Grow seedlings on a window sill.
Close your eyes and think about the warmth of the sun and the feeling of the sun’s rays on your skin.
Allow the warmth to spread to your muscles, joints and bones.
Think about the journey the light and heat have made to come and warm you.
Think about the glowing energy of the sun.
Find a sunny spot on the floor and sit there to do this activity.
Before you start, look at what you’re eating.
- Think about its shape and colours.
- What does it smell like?
Chew it slowly, thinking about how it feels in your mouth and what it tastes like.
- What does your chewing sound like?
- When you swallow the food, can you feel it moving down into your stomach?
Go and sit somewhere you don't normally visit (but are allowed to be).
Close your eyes and think about your breathing.
Breathe in through your mouth and out of your nose.
- Can you feel the air coming into your mouth?
- Can you feel it coming out of your nose?
- What does it feel like?
- Can you feel the rise and fall of your chest or stomach?
If you can’t feel anything, place your hand on your stomach and notice how your hand gently rises and falls with your breath.
Remind yourself that trees release the oxygen we inhale and absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale.
As we breathe, we are borrowing air before returning it to nature.
Sit near an open window.
Notice their shapes, textures and colours.
Ask permission to do this in your shower or bath.
Colour something. Focus on the colours and designs.
Sit somewhere warm and comfortable.
Focus on the sound of just one instrument – the drums is a great one to start with.
Lie down on your bedroom floor with the door shut and your eyes closed.
- Starting at your toes, pick one muscle and squeeze it tight.
- Count to five.
- Release, and notice how your body changes.
- Repeat exercise moving up your body.
Find a cool dark space you are allowed to be in to do this activity.
Five senses exercise
All you need to do is to notice something you are experiencing with each of the five senses.
Look around you and bring your attention to five things that you can see.
Pick something that you don’t normally notice, like a shadow or a small crack in the concrete.
Bring awareness to four things that you are currently feeling, like the texture of your pants, the feeling of the breeze on your skin, or the smooth surface of a table you are resting your hands on.
Take a moment to listen, and note three things that you hear in the background.
This can be the chirp of a bird, the hum of the refrigerator, or the faint sounds of traffic from a nearby road.
Bring your awareness to smells that you usually filter out, whether they’re pleasant or unpleasant.
Perhaps the breeze is carrying a whiff of gum trees if you’re outside, or the smell of a fast food restaurant across the street.
Focus on one thing that you can taste right now, in this moment.
You can take a sip of a drink, chew a piece of gum, eat something, just notice the current taste in your mouth or open your mouth to search the air for a taste.