Ultimate Guide To Mindfulness Exercises For Beginners

Ultimate Guide To Mindfulness Exercises For Beginners

There are many mindfulness meditation exercises for beginners you can use to stay in the moment.  And in this guide I am going to show you how and why you should use them.

As a meditation teacher I am often teaching new mindfulness exercises 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 [read my article on how to teach kids mindfulness].

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

Over the past 50 years it has been proven that mindfulness meditation offers more than 100 health benefits.

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

No Bullshit Guide To Mindfulness Meditation– Instructions For Beginners To Get Started

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. Read THE DAILY MEDITATION’s mindful breathing guide.  

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 [1].

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction: Jon Kabat Zinn founded the practice known as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in the 1970s [2]. 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
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Exercising
  • 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.

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.

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 [4]

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.

Thousands of THE DAILY MEDITATION’s readers have started getting in the mindful habit by using my meditation tracking strategy.

That’s a good thing.

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:

  1. Challenge negative thoughts
  2. Look for alternative perspectives (different ways of looking at situations)
  3. Use mental contrasting.
  4. Look for the positive
  5. 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.

Walking? Walk.

Breathing? Breathe.

Speaking? Speak

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

  1. Close your eyes
  2. Listen to the world around you
  3. 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.

For instance:

  • flowers
  • smiles
  • 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 [5]
  • Improves your social life
  • Releases endorphins [6]
  • 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.

  • Scent
  • Sight
  • Hearing
  • Touch
  • Taste

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.

  1. The next time eat something, choose the food mindfully.
  2. Eat mindfully and slowly.
  3. Really pay attention to what you’re eating.
  4. 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. [7]

There is mounting evidence that other senses increase rapidly when we close our eyes [8]

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

  1. Get the shower to the right temperature
  2. Strip
  3. Get in the shower.
  4. Closer your eyes.
  5. Be mindful of the sounds, feelings, and scents in the shower.
  6. Mindfully wash your body
  7. 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 too.

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.

Here’s how:

  1. Smell something
  2. focus on the smell
  3. focus on the thoughts and feelings that arise
  4. 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.

mindful habits

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.

My favorite way of doing this is by using these mindful writing exercises.

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.

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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Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher and writer. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

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