In this guide I will share the best mindfulness exercises for beginners, including specific mindfulness exercises for kids and adults.
As a meditation teacher I am often teaching new dedxercises for beginners. I have seen first hand just how these exercises can change lives. They can make us calmer, happier, more productive, and more peaceful.
Everyone who has tried my beginners mindfulness guide knows how much of a difference mindfulness can make in life. And not just for us adults, but for our kids too.
By just focusing your mind on the present moment, you can change your life.
Let me show you how.
Here Is Why You Should Start Using Some Easy Mindfulness Exercises Every Day
There are so many reasons why you should aim to incorporate some simple mindfulness exercises into your life. If you practice mindfulness meditation, these exercises will help you to stay mindful all day.
2600 years ago Guatama Sidhartha (Buddha) started the mindfulness meditation tradition. It soon became one of the best Buddhist meditations for beginners.
Today, two and a half thousand years later, millions of people are using all sorts of mindfulness meditation exercises: simple ones like mindful breathing, and more advanced ones like Zen walking.
More and more people are awakening to the power of mindfulness. Indeed, it is the fastest growing health trend of 2019.
What we are all learning is this: by simply using a few easy mindfulness meditation exercises, beginners can relax the mind, boost their happiness, and improve their health.
Let’s take a look at some of the great benefits of mindfulness meditation.
Benefits of mindfulness exercises for beginners
Some of the top benefits of mindfulness exercises are:
- stops stress
- reduces and prevents depression
- reduces and prevents anxiety
- prevents heart disease
- Improves decision making skills
- reduction of chronic pain and inflamation
- improved performance
- relieves OCD
- increases confidence
- boost happiness
- increases productivity
- increases emotional control
- stops insomnia
- heightens intimacy
- and so much more
Remember, these are the benefits of mindfulness techniques for beginners. You will get even more out of your mindfulness exercises as you continue to practice.
Isn’t it amazing? In an age when more people are being prescribed anti-depressants than ever before in history, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to just start doing some simple mindfulness activities.
Mindfulness Meditation Exercise For Beginners—Video
More Easy Mindfulness Exercises For Beginners
One of the best things about mindfulness exercises is that there are a million ways to do them.
As Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D [a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin] told The New York Times:
“In Buddhist tradition, the word ‘mindfulness is equivalent to a word like ‘sports’ in the U.S. It’s a family of activity, not a single thing.”
There is no one mindfulness exercise. There are many.
Here are some of the best mindfulness techniques for beginners.
Traditional mindfulness exercises for beginners
Mindful breathing: Mindful breathing simply means focusing on the movement of the breath around the body.
Tai chi / QiGong: Tai Chi and QiGong are Eastern physical exercises that use slow and conscious movements. These are great for slowing down the mind.
Body Scan: Body scan is a traditional type of meditation. In this mindfulness technique, we slowly move our consciousness around the body while relaxing our muscles. This is very similar to progressive muscle relaxation .
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction: Jon Kabat Zinn founded the practice known as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in the 1970s . It’s a full-system of mindfulness exercises used to stop stress.
Mindful eating: Mindful eating is all about eating slowly and consciously. This technique is great for anyone who comfort eats or eats mindlessly. You can learn more in my tutorial on mindful eating.
Other mindful activities for beginners
Along with the mindfulness exercises above, we can also practice basic mindfulness activities.
Try being mindful while doing this activities:
- Doing the dishes
- Speaking mindfully
- While doing yoga
- Mindful showering
- Listening to music
- Mindful stretching
- Consciously brushing your teeth
- Focusing on the sensations of washing
- Cleaning a room mindfully
For more mindfulness exercises:
- Try my personal favorite mindfulness exercise: mindful writing (excellent for beginners).
Do THESE 32 Mindfulness Exercises To Develop The Mindful Habit
There are 32 mindfulness exercises you can use to be mindful all day long. For starters, you can do these mindfulness practices at work.
As a meditation teacher, people often ask me for daily mindful habits. Little ways to stay mindful all day long, so they don’t get lost in thoughts, feelings, and emotions, so they are always conscious.
The good news is this: There are hundreds of different mindfulness exercises and activities you can use.
However, some of them are a lot more effective than others. That’s why in the list below I have only included the most effective mindfulness exercises.
- You can also use mindfulness apps like Calm / Headspace.
Why meditative activities are important
If you want to boost your consciousness and start being more mindful, you should begin with your habits.
Why? Because our habits are our routines. They are the things we do day-in and day-out. They are the actions that we repeat every day. And because of that, our habits are the backbone of the success mindset.
Habits are incredibly important because we do them unconsciously, without thought.
Some people have bad habits (example: smoking), which they do regularly without thought (mindlessly). As a result they become seriously sick because of bad habits.
Good habits help us to live a healthy life every day, automatically, without even thinking about it.
Examples of good daily habits
- The habit of exercising
- The habit of eating healthy
- The habits of getting plenty of time outdoors
- The habit of drinking water
- The habit of meditating
- The habit of being mindful
6 Facts About Habits
It is easier to make habits than to break them [
To make a new habit, you must change your behaviour. Thinking alone cannot create a habit.
It is easier to change habits when you’re in a different environment
Habits are activated based on different triggers.
The more ingrained a habit becomes, the less energy it takes to perform.
What this means is that we should start a hobby of doing little mindfulness exercises every day until we naturally and automatically stay mindful throughout the day.
The mindfulness habit helps us to stay meditative when we are not meditating.
When you’re being mindful, you simply observe the world, or your thoughts and feelings, without judging them as positive or negative, good or bad.
This relaxed, accepting state of mind is incredibly healthy.
So the main benefit of mindful habits is that they keep the mind in a healthy state.
Other benefits of mindful habits include:
- reduces stress
- increases life satisfaction
- improve produtivity
- increases cognitive functioning
- improves mood
- improves overall wellness
Mindfulness exercises and activities are a powerful way to strengthen the mind.
There are 25 really easy mindful habits that will help you to live in the moment from morning to night. Why not give each of them a try. They will empower you to start living in the moment.
Practice These 31 Easy Mindfulness Exercises To Be Mindful All Day Long
1: Use this habit of thinking mindfully
Make (healthy) positive thinking a habit.
Healthy positive thinking is not the same as “positive thinking”.
Positive thinking is about forcing the positive (e.g. “I’ll make a million dollars today”)
Healthy positive thinking means thinking in a healthy way.
5 steps to the positive thinking habit:
- Challenge negative thoughts
- Look for alternative perspectives (different ways of looking at situations)
- Use mental contrasting.
- Look for the positive
- Focus on compassion, kindness, forgiveness and love
2: Just do what you’re doing
The most basic activity, indeed the core process for being mindful, is to just do the one thing you are doing. Take whatever you are doing and turn it into a mindfulness exercise.
No matter what you are doing, you can do it mindfullly.
Whatever you do, do it mindfully. A moment lived mindlessly is a moment lost forever.
“The universe created this moment for you. Embrace it. Be grateful for it. Live and love the moments. ”
3: Another mindfulness activity is to express gratitude for this moment
Recognise that this moment right now is infinite. This moment stretches across space and time. This moment connects us all together. We might be in different countries. We might be different people. But we’re all now.
This moment is what holds you and me and the whole world together. And that’s pretty awesome when you think about it.
Show appreciation for the individual moments of your life.
How to express gratitude for the moment
- Close your eyes
- Listen to the world around you
- Say (or think): “Thank you for this moment”
4: Perceive beauty in everything
There is beauty in everything. Every person. Every flower. Every teardrop. Every smile. Beauty permeates the very fabric of existence.
Perceive the beauty. And love it.
The science of Positive Psychology has proven that people who are able to see and appreciate beauty are happier and healthier than others.
Just by appreciating the beauty in lief you will be happier and healthier.
Get in the habit of counting things that are beautiful.
- blue skies
- the ocean
- the way sunlight dances through green leaves
5: You’ll love this mindfulness exercise: Start smiling a lot
There are so many benefits of smiling.
- Is contagious
- Makes the world a more positive place
- Strengthens the immune system 
- Improves your social life
- Releases endorphins 
- Is contagious so you make other people happy too
You see that person outside the window? Go on. Give them a great big smile.
Smile mindfully. Feel the energy of your smile. Make it a mindfulness exercise by really focusing on the way you feel when you smile.
Buddhist Mindfulness Exercises And Activities
6: Set a conscious reminder to be mindful
One of the most important daily Buddhist habits is just to be mindful. Exercises can help with this. But the easiest way to remind yourself to be mindful is to just go ahead and set an alarm.
Set an alarm to go off every hour. If you have an Alexa / Google Home or similar device you can actually set it so the voice tells you to “be mindful” at the beginning of every hour.
Or you could use a more traditional alarm, like a Tibetan Singing Bowl or bird call. When the alarm goes off, take sixty seconds—just sixty seconds—to be mindful. That’s all it takes, sixty seconds.
“Being mindful is easy. Remembering to be mindful. That’s the hard part.”
7: Meditate on your senses
We come to life when we live through the senses.
Your senses are always working. You’re always seeing things, hearing things, smelling things… be aware of those senses.
You can use exercises to be mindful of your senses.
Ask what you’re perceiving with each of your senses. Be more aware of the sensory world. The more you’re aware of your senses, the more you live. This is one of the most important mindful habits of all. We have five senses for a reason. The more we use them the better we will be.
8: Practice mindful breathing
Your breath is a sacred and beautiful thing.
Breath connects us to the outside world.
We take in life through air and breathe it deep into our bodies. It sustains us. It keeps us alive. When you meditate on the breath you connect the mind to the essential energy of life.
When you feel stressed, take five deep breaths and really focus on the air coming in and going out of your body.
9: One of my favorite Buddhist mindfulness exercises is “Right Speech”
One of the main Buddhist wisdoms is right speech. This is the idea that all speech should be kind, compassionate, and loving.
Enlightened people have mastered the art of right speech. We always speak consciously and with love and kindness.
For newcomers it can be a challenge.
Try using speech as a mindfulness exercise.
The next time you say something to someone (anyone) really focus on the sound of your words. Your words are infinite. You could say anything. You could say something so profound it changes someone’s life. Focus on your words and really say something that truly matters.
This is one of the absolute best mindful activities because it creates happiness for us and for the people around us.
“Always speak with love and compassion, as though the person you are speaking to is the most important person in the world.”
10: Practice the “Middle Way”
Did you know Buddhists are more satisfied in life than the average person?
One reason is because of the Buddhist habit of majjhima patipada, which is the “middle way”.
The middle way is about moderation. It is about not indulging and not starving yourself. In other words, living in moderation.
This Buddhist habit teaches us to enjoy life but without indulging, and to control our senses but without self-mortification.
11: Eating as a mindfulness activity
Food is divine.
Food nourishes our body and mind.
It is enlightened to be mindful while eating. And it is one off the most important Buddhist habits.
- The next time eat something, choose the food mindfully.
- Eat mindfully and slowly.
- Really pay attention to what you’re eating.
- Be aware of what it is, where it comes from, what it tastes like… everything.
This is one mindful habit that will make you much healthier.
Use These Mindfulness Exercises For The Mind And Body
12. In your office chair
One of the absolute best habits for health is to do some basic yoga poses at your office chair. And you can do those yoga exercises mindfully, too.
The majority of people live too sedentary lifestyles. Scientific research shows that sedentary lifestyle contribute to premature death.
To counteract this, start doing my favorite yoga habit: doing yoga in your office chair.
13. Practice the yoga habit of pratyahara
Pratyhara is a yoga practice for the mind. In pratyhara yoga we reduce negative influences (such as negative people), and increase positive influences.
We can turn this into a yoga-habit. To do so, be mindful of the affect different people, objects, and sources of information (like TV, Facebook etc).
When you come across negative influences, find ways to reduce them. This could be as simple as turning off the TV, or a complex as ending an abusive relationship.
14. Go slow--One of the most important of all mindfulness exercises
Life is a musical score in which beats are made of moments. Go slowly enough to enjoy those moments. Don’t rush through them. This is your life. Love it. Live it. Enjoy it.
Take the time to slow down each day. One way to make this a habit is to choose specific times when you will slow down (such as at lunch break).
To slow down, you can:
- meditate (try meditative writing)
- listen to relaxing music
- go for a walk
- do yoga or tai chi
- turn off your devices
15. Connect with your body
This is another mindfulness exercise that stems from yoga. Take mindful moments to be aware of your body language and your posture. Hold your body with intent, like you would when practicing yoga poses.
You will notice many things when you do this. You may find times of bad posture, which could be causing spinal injury. You could find that you have a bad body language gesture that is giving people a negative impression of you (for instance, you have a habit of scrunching your nose, which is an unconscious sign of disgust). Negative body language like this can have a massive effect on your social life.
By being mindful of your body you can find bad habits that you can change. This can boost your health, your image, and yes, your yoga practice.
16. Yogic Laughter
There is a kind of alternative yoga called Laughter Yoga.
In laughter yoga, we intentionally laugh and let out stress. This is cathartic and good for the soul.
The next time you laugh, truly go with it, and mindfully observe the feelings of laughing. Laugh mindfully. This activity will make you feel joyous and playful.
17: Shower with your eyes closed
Eyesight is the most powerful sense of all.
We humans receive 80% of our perception of the world via sight. 
There is mounting evidence that other senses increase rapidly when we close our eyes 
When we close our eyes, we become more mindful of our other senses (and we also improve our cognitive functioning because we are less distracted by external stimuli).
To take advantage of this, try mindfully showering with your eyes closed. This is one of the most relaxing mindfulness exercises you can do. And it is a good exercise for being mindful in the morning (presuming you shower in the morning, of course).
How to shower mindfully
- Get the shower to the right temperature
- Get in the shower.
- Closer your eyes.
- Be mindful of the sounds, feelings, and scents in the shower.
- Mindfully wash your body
- Express gratitude for the water.
18: Naturally, the number one mindfulness exercise is to meditate
There are over a hundred benefits of meditation. And the majority of those benefits can be gleaned from as little as 20 minutes a day.
But how do you make meditation a habit so that you actually do it every day?
From years of personal experience my advice is to meditate in the morning.
Our willpower is highest in the morning. Plus, in the morning we have less on our minds and are less likely to be distracted because we have yet to start doing anything.
A particularly good idea is to change your alarm to a Zen sound (for instance, use an alarm that has chanting sounds). Then you can wake up to a relaxing sound and immediately start meditating.
19: Be mindful of the elements
The elements are sources of great power.
By being mindful of the elements we can connect with nature and with the divine.
Start with water.
Water is one of the most divine things in the world. It’s pure, and it’s perhaps the number one representation of the power of nature. The next time you’re around water, just take a moment to meditate on it. Focus on the flow of the water. Feel the energy and notice how free water is. Ask that sense of freedom to enter your own life. You can even make a mindful exercise of turning the tap on. Every time you turn the tap on, briefly meditate on the water.
Rain is the healing of the land, the purifying of the world. Rain connects the sky to the earth. It’s symbolic of the perpetual cycle of life. Whenever there’s rain, meditate on it. Stand out in the rain and feel the cool droplets cleansing your spirit.
Thunder is a symbol of power. Close your eyes and listen to that roll and clap of thunder in the skies above. Listen mindfully. It will connect you to your inner power.
These types of mindfulness exercises will deepen your connection with nature.
20: Walk with spirit
Most religions and spiritualities have walking practices that are used as meditation or for connecting to the divine.
Zen walking, for instance, is a Buddhist practice in which we focus on the sense of movement.
Christians can walk in a religious way by being mindful of how they walking through God’s creation, being mindful of the land and they move through it.
Wherever you walk, walk mindfully. This is both physical exercise and a mindfulness exercise.
Daily Mindful Activities For Brain Training
It’s important to make room for some brain training habits and activities.
Here are some of the best mindfulness exercises for the brain.
22: Read inspiring books / quotes
Books are beautiful. When you read a book you experience many of the same states as you do when you meditate. Your mind slows down. You relax. The noise dissipate. Our heart rate lowers.
23: Mindful intent
It can be easy to turn your day into a blur. You start out with ideas of what you want / need to do, and you set about doing them. But the plan doesn’t quite work out so you end up doing two things at once, then three things… and you’re not really focusing on any of them. Tell yourself the one thing you’re going to do. Do that one thing. Complete it. Then move on.
This is a habit of mindful intent. We are choosing to do one thing, and then focusing on that one thing absolutely
24: Oh that scent in divine
The sense of smell is immensely powerful. Smell is connected to memory. When we smell things we bring memories to mind. Therefore, we can use sense of smell to get in touch with ourselves.
- Smell something
- focus on the smell
- focus on the thoughts and feelings that arise
- If a specific memory arises, meditate on it
25: Get in touch with your intuition
Intuition is very powerful. Science suggests that people are at their wisest when they listen to that little voice inside. Let your inner voice speak to you, and listen.
27: One Minute Breathing
Mindful breathing is the single most important mindfulness technique.
This exercise is highly versatile. You can do it just about anywhere, whether you’re lying in bed or out for a walk. And it only takes sixty seconds.
Simply breathe in through your nose, hold for a count of five, and then breathe out slowly. As you breathe, focus on letting your breath flow naturally and easily.
At times your mind will lose its anchor and you’ll find yourself flooded with thoughts. Simply observe those thoughts. Let them be. Let them go. Watch your breath with your senses. Observe as your breath becomes one with the wider universe.
If you thought you would never be able to meditate, guess what? You’re now meditating, and it only took one minute.
28: Observe the beauty of nature
Simply spending 20 minutes mindfully observing nature will make you happier and healthier.
This is a very easy mindfulness exercise, but it’s also highly potent. It’s one of my personal favourites, too. It connects you to the beauty of nature.
To do this exercise, start by picking an object of natural beauty; a waterfall, for instance, or a flower.
Once you’ve chosen a subject to meditate on, begin to observe the object through your senses. You can do this in just a couple of minutes, that’s all.
I personally love rainbows. Whenever there’s a rainbow out I’ll spend five minutes just mindfully observing it.
Allow yourself to really appreciate and enjoy the beauty of the thing you’re meditating on. Let your spirit connect with the object. You will find this immensely relaxing
29: Train your brain to be mindful automatically
This mindfulness exercise is a way of creating “anchor points”. With this exercise you’ll naturally train your brain to become mindful at specific moments.
It’s easier than it sounds. If you’d like to do this exercise, simply pick a few things that you do every day—for instance, turning the door handle, having a shower, opening the curtains…
When you open the curtains (for example) allow yourself to be completely mindful. Take that moment, those few seconds, to be completely mindful—the same with turning the door handle or having a shower. Make those your mindful moments.
Every day you perform these simple tasks, so use them as mindful reminders. Through a process of repetition you will train your brain to naturally be mindful at those moments. The process will soon become automatic. Then, you’ll have mindful moments without even having to try.
I love this mindfulness exercise because it allows you to take mundane every day activities—like turning a door handle—and turn them into your own little mindful moments.
29: Listening as a mindfulness exercise
Practicing mindful listening will make you more aware and more focused on the present moment. It’s another great mindfulness exercise.
Everyone loves a good listener, right? But even better than a good listener is a mindful listener.
Mindful listening is all about listening to people in a non-judgmental fashion. Not only is this excellent for the person you’re listening to, but it’s fantastic for you too.
Most of us are highly influenced by the things we hear. It can be quite easy to become irritated when someone says something thoughtless, for instance. But when you practice mindful listening you stop being affected by words.
When you’re listening to someone speaking, just focus on the sound. Don’t judge, just listen.
You can also do this activity with music. If you play an instrument you likely do this already. I’ve played piano for thirty years. When I play I sink into the music. I let it take me. I flow with the sound of the piano.
And if you’re not a musician, hey, no sweat, just put a piece of relaxing music on and listen to it mindfully. You’ll find this supremely tranquil.
30: Do what you’d do anyway, just do it mindfully
Many of us are starved for time. I know there are often days when I’d do anything for five minutes just to chill in. How do you practice mindfulness exercises on days like those?
The trick is to take an activity that you’d do anyway. For instance, you have to do the dishes. Why not do the dishes mindfully? Or how about eating. You have to have dinner, why not eat mindfully?
Three awesome things happen when you do chores mindfully: 1) You get a good spot of mindfulness, 2) You complete the task you have to do anyway, and 3) You do that task quicker and better than normal because you’re focusing on it.
So, do the thing you need to do, just do it mindfully.
You remember the scene from The Karate Kid when Mr Miyagi is teaching Daniel to clean his car, and he says “Wax on, wax off”. He’s teaching Daniel to clean his car in a mindful way. The trick is to be one with the movements, one with the “wax on” and one with the “wax off”. Be mindful.
By doing tasks mindfully you’ll get the task done better and quicker, and you’ll get some free mindfulness. It’s a win / win situation. And the true is that you can do anything in a mindful way. You can even lie down in bed mindfully. So the idea of not having another time is bull poop.
31: Describe things to yourself
Try mindfully describing the beauty you see. This beautiful sky, for instance. What do you see when you mindfully observe a beautiful sky like this?
Talking to yourself is usually considered a sign of insanity. This mindfulness exercise flips that notion on its head.
The trick here is to observe the things you’re experiencing through your senses.
If you’re out for a walk, describe the sky—the colours, the shapes, the feelings it creates in you—describe the scenery, describe the motion of walking, and so on.
This simple exercise trains your mind to be aware of your senses. It improves the communication between your conscious mind and your unconscious mind. And all you need do is describe a few things around you.
32. Do some mindfulness exercises with your pets
Grab a cat / dog / bunny / octopus (hey, whatever works) and snuggle it. Close your eyes. Feel that sense of love and warmth. Be mindful of that. This will put some love in your soul.
In this guide I am going to share with you my favorite mindfulness exercises for children of all ages.
There are so many reasons to start teaching kids to meditate. By practicing some mindfulness exercises kids can focus their minds, improve their health, and feel good about themselves.
Caring parents know that there are lots of benefits of meditation for kids. And millions of enlightened parents are starting to teach kids to meditate.
With this guide, you can get started too.
In this guide I’ll show you the best types of meditation for kids, and I will share 10 great mindfulness exercises for children.
This Is The Main Benefit Of Mindfulness Exercises For Children
There are so many benefits of mindfulness exercises for children. And there are other techniques you might like to try too, such as teaching them some mantras for kids.
Kids face serious mental health issues today.
Research shows that 30% of girls and 20% of boys aged 12 to 17 have suffered from an anxiety disorder (1)
As a caring parent who fights for your kids health and happiness, you have probably tried very hard to find ways to stop your kids feeling stressed, right?
But it isn’t easy.
Scientific research has proven that kids today have more pressure and stress today than in any other generation in history.
“The stress of getting good grades, high scores on standardized tests, and accepted at top-ranked colleges doesn’t encourage happy family dynamics,” says developmental psychologist Marilyn Price-Mitchell Ph.D. (2)
Worse, your kids could be suffering from stress without you being aware (one reason why we invite you to share this post on Facebook to help spread mindfulness among parents so less kids have to endure stress and anxiety).
Millions of kids suffer stress while their parents are unawares.
“It’s not always easy to recognize when kids are stressed out, but short-term behavioral changes — such as mood swings, acting out, changes in sleep patterns, or bedwetting — can be indications. Some kids have physical effects, including stomachaches and headaches,” says KidsHealth.
Put simply, kids are under too much pressure. And it is affecting their health.
When you start teaching kids to meditate you help them cope with these problems. And there are some seriously easy mindfulness exercises for children to try (see below).
By teaching kids mindfulness exercises you give them a way to handle stress. And you will improve their behaviour too.
Compassionate parents see the benefits in teaching meditation for children, along with the other essentials, like stopping their screen addiction.
More Benefits Of Mindfulness Exercises For Kids
Teaching kids to meditate is one of the best things families (or school teachers) can do. Some of the benefits of mindfulness exercises for kids include:
- improves focus
- makes you smarter
- increases compassion
- boosts positive emotions and feelings, such as happiness, confidence, and inner peace
- reduces negative emotions and feelings like anxiety, depression, and stress
- click the link above to see the complete list of the benefits of meditation, along with the scientific proof, which I have personally researched in-depth.
- Meditation helps children to develop their focus and attention.
- There is mounting evidence (4) that meditation helps kids with ADHD. A 2004 study showed that kids who practiced meditation with their parents in a clinical setting twice a week and then continued to practice at home had improved attention span and focus. In another study, teens and their parents completed a mindfulness program and reported fewer stress levels and fewer ADHD symptoms, such as impulsiveness and emotional reactivity.
- Meditation removes negative thoughts along with worries.
- Mindfulness helps teens overcome the stress associated with peer pressure.
- It boosts present-moment mindfulness.
- Improves cognitive performance
- Improves overall wellbeing
- Reduces bad behaviour
- Improves sleep
- Helps kids to feel good about themselves
- Increases calmness
- Helps with self regulation
- Heightens awareness
- Improves connection with nature
- Increases motivation
- Boosts confidence
- Improves optimism
- Helps with social skills
- Reduces symptoms of depression
- Improves academic outcome
- Increases attention
- Increases personal goals
- Reduces anxiety
- Improves sleep quality
- Makes kids feel closer to their friends
- Reduces loneliness
- Helps regulate blood pressure
Is it safe to teach mindfulness exercises to kids?
Of the 31 major meditation techniques in use today, the majority are 95% safe for children.
That said, caring parents will know to seek professional advice from a healthcare professional before starting a meditation practice.
As a conscious meditation teacher I feel it is my responsibility to pass on this truth. And unlike most online publications, here at THE DAILY MEDITATION we believe in telling you everything you need to know, both good and bad.
So, consider your kid’s individual needs. Parents of children with a history of mental health problems must consult advice from a healthcare professional. And I strongly advise other parents to do the same thing.
Mindfulness is perfectly safe for most kids. And it is very beneficial.
So how can you start teaching kids to meditate?
*Make sure you follow these general guidelines before starting the mindfulness exercises for kids below.
Know your stuff
You want to teach your kids to meditate properly. That’s why it’s essential to know the basics before you begin.
Meditation is about focus, and lot’s of influences effect a child’s ability to focus.
For instance, the environment they are in and the amount of noise in the room can have a huge effect on a kid’s focus levels.
Even the time of day can effect a meditation. For instance, dont teach kids mindfulness when they are hungry. They simply wont focus.
If you want to start teaching kids to meditate, make sure you know how to meditate yourself.
Writing for the Chopra Center, Bess O’Connor says, “Children copy the behavior of their parents. So starting them on a meditation journey can be as simple as leading by example.” (6)
Before teaching kids meditation, make sure you know how to meditate yourself. And never give a kid a mindfulness exercise to do unless you’ve tried it yourself first.
Go slow even if your kid is a genius. If you rush you’ll be in danger of giving your child incorrect information. So go slow and make sure that your kids know precisely what they are doing when they meditate.
Remember, half the battle of mindfulness is slowing down the mind. So naturally, a slow approach is best.
When you’re teaching kids meditation, follow the “one minute per year rule”. This is one of the best guidelines when teaching kids to meditate.
Many experts agree that the amount of time a kid or teenager can meditate for is roughly one minute for each year they’ve been alive. So, for example, a ten year old can meditate for ten minutes.
Do not make this mistake
Never ever ever criticise your kids ability to meditate. This is the worst thing you can do when teaching kids to meditate.
This is huge.
Self acceptance is 90% of mindfulness. And a parent’s behavior has a huge effect on a kid’s level of self acceptance. That’s why enlightened parents do not judge. Enlightened parents encourage positive behavior by example.
Some kids find it easy to focus and have good behavior. Others don’t. No big deal. (After all, some of the worst behaved kids go on to achieve great things)
Therefore, do not worry if your kids aren’t immediate Zen masters. There’s a good chance the little terrors will struggle to focus the first time around. And that is absolutely fine. The more they practice, the better they will be. One key to success when teaching kids to meditate is to be patient with them.
The Best Mindfulness Exercises For Kids
1. 10 minute mindfulness exercise for children 10+
This is an easy mindfulness exercise for children, and it’s one of the best ways to start teaching kids to meditate.
1. Ask your child to close their eyes and focus on their breathing.
2. Keep an eye on the wall. When two minutes have past, proceed to the next step.
3. Ask them to focus on what they are hearing. It may help if you ask them to describe, in detail, the sounds they are hearing. This makes them tune in to the sounds around them, which will cause them to focus on the present moment, which decreases rumination and help with any negative thoughts.
4. Ask them to pay attention to the sensation of touch. Have them describe what they can feel (for instance, wind on the face, soft grass at their feet etc).
5. Ask them to focus on scents. How does the air smell? Are there any other scents they are aware of? etc.
6. Now move to taste and repeat.
7. Finally, ask them to open their eyes and simply look around. You may ask them to focus on light, on shades and on other visuals to make them mindful of sight.
Benefits of this mindfulness exercise for kids and teens
This meditation exercise makes kids more aware of the present moment and helps them to focus on one thing at a time (in the exercise they focus on the sense one at a time).
In this age of constant stimulation, many children (and adults) struggle to focus. This technique boosts focus and concentration by asking your kids to just zone in on one thing at a time.
2. Breathing mindfulness exercise for kids 5+
Another great mindfulness exercise for kids is mindful breathing.
Breathing meditation is often the best place to start with any sort of meditation practice, so it’s ideal for adult meditators as well as kids.
Remember to follow the one minute rule. Kids should meditate for a maximum of one minute for each years of their life.
- Ask your child to sit comfortably with good posture and to close their eyes.
- Bring their attention to the sensation of their breath coming and going through the space between their mouth and nose.
- Ask them to place both their hands on their stomach and to feel their breath rising and falling from there.
- You may also ask them to repeat a simple word as they breathe in and out, saying “In” on in-breaths and “Out” when exhaling.
- Work in cycles of five breaths. Have them count five breaths and then ask them to be aware of any thoughts or feelings in their mind.
- If they are experiencing thoughts or feelings,, ask them to let go and to return their attention to their breath.
Benefits of this meditation exercise for kids
This is a simple mindfulness exercise. It is great for relaxation and it also improves focus and concentration.
3. Listening mindfulness exercises for kids (8+)
Many kids struggle with listening skills. If your kids struggle to listen, try this meditation exercise for kids.
- Ask them to focus on their breathing for a few minutes.
- Explain to your child that they are going to hear a sound and that they should focus on the sound as it gets quieter and quieter.
- Ask them to nod their head when they can no longer hear that sound.
- Start playing some relaxing sounds. For instance, you might like to use a Tibetan singing bowl or an alternative source of what I call “Zen Sounds”--sounds that produce inner calm
- Gradually quieten the sound. When they nod their head (saying they can no longer hear it) have them count five breaths again.
- Repeat this exercise once for each year of their age.
Benefits of this mindfulness exercise for kids and teens:
The purpose of this exercise is to increase kids’ auditory awareness while also quieting their minds. Because they are focusing on listening to a quiet sound they will naturally stop a lot of the mental noise that they may have (because they need to be inwardly silent in order to listen). This produces mental peace and inner silence. And it is also a good way to improve kids listening skills.
4. Mindful eating (8+)
This exercise makes kids more aware (and more appreciative) of food. It can also help with weight loss and diet.
- Gather some food into a plate or bowl.
- Remove any wrappers.
- Have your child count to five breaths.
- Now ask your child to be mindful of the food on the plate, being aware of the feeling, the image and the scent of the food. If they are holding cutlery you may ask them to be mindful of that too.
- Ask your child to take a small portion of the food and to eat it slowly while focusing on the taste. Ideally, they will chew slowly and will focus on the activity of eating.
- Once they have finished eating, ask them to describe the taste and feeling of the food.
- Finally, ask them to take five mindful breaths.
Benefits of this mindfulness exercise for kids:
This exercise is highly beneficial. It helps kids to be more mindful. And it makes them more aware and more appreciative of food, which can help with any eating problems.
5. Walking mindfulness exercises for kids 8+
Walking is one of the traditional meditation exercises in Zen Buddhism and is a great exercise.
Here is how to do it:
- Take a short walk with your kid(s) somewhere relaxing and safe.
- Ask them to focus on the sensation of movement in their feet and legs.
- Continue walking slowly, while focusing on the movement.
- If your child shows a lack of concentration at any time, stop walking and have them count five breaths.
- After the five breaths, continue to walk mindfully.
- After 20 minutes of walking, stop.
- Ask them to describe how they feel.
This is one of the easiest and most relaxing meditations there is. Try it at the beach or in the park for a truly relaxing experience.
6. Play [ages: five -- ten years old]
In this mindfulness exercise, kids play a fun game like finger-painting, using a sand table, or a similar activity.
- Start by asking them to take ten mindful breaths. This will help them to relax and focus.
- Now tell your child that they can play in whatever way they like but with one condition: they must be mindful of everything they do. Whatever they choose to do during play, they must focus on it absolutely, as we do when meditating.
- Ask your child to be aware of all five senses, being mindful of taste, touch, sight, sound and hearing.
- If they lose focus, use five mindful breaths to regain their attention.
Benefits: of this mindfulness exercise for kids:
This exercise boosts children’s concentration. And it’s fun at the same time.
7: Art-based mindfulness exercises for children 7+
Many children love painting and drawing, both of which can easily be turned into meditation practice. Here’s how.
- Find an object that your child wants to draw or paint.
- Now ask them to observe every aspect of the object for 5 minutes.
- Ask them to describe the shape of the object, the feeling, and so on. This encourages them to practice mindfulness.
- They can then draw or paint the object, but they must focus absolutely on the object while they create their art.
Benefits f this meditation exercise for chilren:
This is a great creative exercise that boosts mindfulness and increases awareness.
8: Cooking Mindfulness Exercise For Children 5+
Here is a great mindfulness exercise for kids who enjoy cooking.
- Get hold of a fun and simple recipe that your child might like to cook (some healthy cookies, for instance).
- Gather the ingredients, along with any utensils you need.
- Go through the recipe. Each time you get to a new item, ask your kids to mindfully observe that item.
- Ask them watch the effect that each new ingredient has one the colour, taste, touch, and smell of the food.
- Once the food is ready, have them eat it mindfully (see number 4 in this list)
Benefits of this meditation exercise for children:
This mindfulness exercise boosts present-moment mindfulness, encourages kids to be more mindful of what they are eating, and teaches them to cook, all at the same time.
9: Music mindfulness exercises for kids of any age
A very enjoyable way to teach kids to meditate is by listening to music. This is actually how I personally learnt mindfulness myself, all those many, many years ago. I played piano and would meditate on the music I was creating. All kids can do this technique, whether they play an instrument or not.
- Find a tune that your child can hum or sing (something simple like “Twinkle Twinkle”)
- Play the tune to them for a few minutes and ask them to listen closely. They should learn the tune as they listen.
- Ask them to recite it to you (either by humming, singing, or playing an instrument)
- Ask them to focus on the music 100% while they recite it.
- Afterwards, ask them to describe the way the music makes them feel.
Benefits of these meditation exercise for children:
This exercise make your kids more aware of sound, and it enhances mind-body connection. By focusing on the movements of their body while they perform the music, your child connects with their body in the present moment, boosting present moment mindfulness. It also makes them more aware of the way they are feeling, which can help with emotional control.
10: Group mindfulness exercise for kids
This final exercise is simple but powerful.
Meditation is much more effective when practiced in a group. I highly recommend informing your friends about meditation for children, and arranging group sessions.
I’ve personally been helping parents to teach meditation to children for years. Not only does it help both parents, teachers and kids to relax and focus, but it creates a strong, supportive group that in itself is immensely beneficial.
Infographic about teaching meditation to children
Teaching Meditation To Children Should Be Every Caring Parent’s Duty
There are so many benefits of mindfulness exercises for kids.
It is saddening that anxiety and depression are at an all time high in kids and teens. The good news is that caring parents can do something about it.
One of the best things about these mindfulness exercises for children is that you can do them as a family. It makes kids healthy and happy, and it teaches them to control their mind and emotions--an essential skill that will be of immense value to them for their whole lives.
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These little meditative activities make a big difference
By performing mindful habits we train the mind to be mindful always.
These little gems make meditation a habit. And the result is increased relaxation, happiness, and productivity.
What’s your personal favorite mindful habit?
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