Welcome to The Mindfulness Zone
For adults and children alike, mindfulness is proven to calm our minds, relax our often busy and overstretched brains, and in turn calm our bodies with breathing and positive, healthy feelings. Take part in these suggested activities each day to help you achieve positive outcomes and vibes.
We will refresh ideas and practices on a regular basis – so check in with us every day. We are an online friend to keep you feeling good when times are tough! Why not share your thoughts with us and ideas we can add to the collection on our social media #wildernessfoundationuk or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get close to the earth : Go on a belly hike relax
(Adults and children alike can do this. No age restriction!)
Often we only look for the bigger things in life and miss the small and just as wonderful creatures that are there all the time. So why not take a Belly Hike when you go to the park or are playing in the garden.
Lie on your belly…and look through the grass at the wonders that can lie within the blades..ants, dew drops, seeds, spiders and beetles….
When you feel you have looked at everything within your reach, gently turn yourself around and do the same exercise again…did you find more there than the first time..what was different? Or maybe just the same?
By taking time to focus on a smaller patch of life and give it our full attention we are being mindful and respectful. This will help calm our nervous system, and our brains, and can improve our mood.
(thanks to Richard Louv. Vitamin N)
10 Fingers of Gratitude
Researchers have found that people who focus on gratitude on a daily basis experiences significant psychological, physical and social benefits.
This is a very quick daily exercise which will have a very powerful effect on your day. It can be a good idea to do it first thing in the morning or last thing at night. In that way the grateful thoughts are more easily imprinted on the unconscious.
Bring to mind 10 things which you appreciate in your life today, counting them on your fingers. It’s important to get to 10 things, even when over time it becomes increasingly hard! This is exactly what the exercise is about – consciously bringing into your awareness the previously unnoticed elements in your day to day life.
Because your mind can only think of one thing at once focusing on the good aspects of your life means you’re unable to focus on anything that may be not quite as good.
Sensory Trail Adventure
Indoor or out
This exercise can take a little time to set up but it is worth it.
Equipment: you and a long piece of rope or twine.
Where : You can do it indoors or outdoors where you have trees or a structure to tie ropes to.
Take your rope and create a trail about waist height through the trees (garden or park) or around the furniture…it can be as long as your rope allows you too, but try to make it as long as possible.
You will need to blindfold your participant and then send them off on their journey using their senses and holding on to the rope and working their way through the trail terrain. Try to use all your senses to work out where you are and where you are going…what can you smell, hear, feel, touch?
Stop your children and ask them to listen to everything around them. Guess what birds they hear, or which way the wind is moving, or can they hear the fridge humming or the clock ticking?
When they have completed the course, invite them to go the other way around and see what is different.
Note: make sure that you check that there are no obstacles that they can fall over or hurt themselves on as they are blindfolded. If you come to any tricky bits, give them support by being their eyes for them and make sure they stay safe.
Writing of any kind can be Mindful and help us to engage with our thoughts and feelings.
Chris Murray has written about his experiences and how poetry has helped him.
He hopes to inspire others to do the same.
Below is a photo of Poppies taken by Chris, perhaps just this photo of nature could inspire you to write; a poem, a story a verse, or think about one world, that comes to mind when you see this photo.
Why I love writing Poetry by Chris Murray
For much of my life I have been a worrier, have suffered with depression, and at worst, felt trapped inside my own, negative, thought patterns.
However, through spiritual support, counselling, an understanding doctor, medication, and a wonderful wife and family, life is much happier these days.
Writing poetry also helps me a lot. When depressed, I found putting down on paper how I felt was very therapeutic.
One of my greatest inspirations is the natural world. I love to be outside, in all seasons, walking, or standing still, listening, looking, noticing the play of light on flowers, foliage and water, thrilling at birdsong, being amused by squirrels’ antics, exhilarated by the wind, or feeling raindrops on my face.
All these things help me to be ‘in the moment,’ or mindful, and are a good antidote to worrying about past, present, or future. I find this practice truly uplifting.
Then I will try to find words to describe, in an imaginative way, what I have seen and how I have felt. It may just be one particular thing that has stirred my creative juices!.
Then, in a notebook I have with me, or when I get home, I’ll write my thoughts down, and work on what I have written until I am reasonably happy with the end product.
Why don’t you have a go!
Slow down, look around
Take time to see – shades of green,
Yellows, reds, myriad hues,
Trees, flowers, skies so blue
Slow down, look around
Take time to feel – soft, warm breeze,
Sun’s welcome heat, sheep’s winter fleece,
Hope rising, new possibilities
Slow down, look around,
Take time to hear – dawn blackbird’s song,
Field skylark’s shrill, lamb’s plaintiff call,
Stream’s babbling thrill
Slow down, look around,
Take time to see,
Take time to feel,
Take time to hear,
Take time to live
Breathing to relax
A deeply relaxed person breathes around seven times a minute. Slow your breathing right down and you will automatically relax.
This is especially helpful when you need to focus, do a presentation, attend an interview or simply just to calm down.
- Breathe in counting to 6
- Hold it for the count of 2
- Let the breath out slowly counting to 8
Role models are a brilliant way of developing yourself. You can admire their image, attitude, communications, skills, work or confidence. You could do this exercise as many times as you like:
Who is your role model?
Why do you admire them?
What qualities have they got that you would like to copy?
How will you do this?
Find a quiet place to stand where you feel safe. Strike your best superhero pose and hold it for 2 minutes.
How has it made you feel?
What did your superhero smell?
What did your superhero hear?
What did your superhero see?
What did your superhero taste?
What did your superhero touch?
The Mindful Jar
First, get a clear jam jar and fill it almost to the top with water. Add a squirt of PVA glue and a teaspoon of glitter. Attach the lid of the jar tight and give it a really good shake to make the glitter swirl.
Imagine that the glitter is like your thoughts when you’re stressed, angry or upset. See how it whirls around and make it really hard to see clearly? That’s why it’s so easy to make silly decisions when you’re upset – because you’re not thinking clearly. Don’t worry this is normal and it happens in all of us (yep, grownups too).
Put the jar down on a table and breathe deeply
Now watch what happens when you’re still for a couple of moments. Keep watching. See how the glitter starts to settle and the water clears? Your mind works the same way. When you’re calm for a little while, your thoughts start to settle and you start to see things much clearer.
Deep breaths during this calming process can help us settle when we feel a lot of emotions
Try focusing on one emotion at a time and think about how the shaken verse settling glitter is like that emotion.
A Walk on the Mindfulness Side
Walking is one of the finest forms of exercise, a proven stress reliever and mood booster and can be made doubly valuable by using it as a mindful exercise to be aware of everything around you – sights, sounds, colours and the weather. When your thoughts stray to concerns and worries, just guide your mind back to the exercise of being aware of your surroundings as you walk.
Take yourself and your family out for a walk. Call it a wilderness trail. Whilst you are walking, have a competition on who can find the smallest creepy crawly. How many birds can you count? Are they all the same or are they different?
Can you find every colour of the rainbow? What does a rainbow smell like? Look in puddles to see if anything is swimming. Can you hear bugs? What sounds are they making? Can you copy them? Say the alphabet and try and identify something different for each letter.
Don’t wait to see what the weather is like – a walk in the wind or rain can be every bit as stimulating, sometimes more so, than a walk in the subshine.
The Taste Test
Play this as a game, for adults as well as children!
Blindfold everyone in the group. Give them something edible to hold, for example a raisin, a slice of cucumber, a square of chocolate, a tomato,
Everyone must use all their senses to try and identify the item they have been given.
When the blindfold has been removed take a moment of reflection:
- What was is like to have your sight removed?
- Which other senses did you have to use instead?
- How did it make you feel?
Get some bubble mixture.
1) Take a deep breath in and slowly, gently exhale to see what is the biggest bubble you can make. Have a competition to see who makes the biggest bubble.
2) Concentrate on one bubble. Follow its journey around the garden. Watch how it floats and rises. How long you can float one bubble in the air before it pops. Attempt to keep the bubble floating in the air the longest by blowing gently underneath it. What happens to the bubble after it has popped? Encourage discussions about the future of the bubble and the journey it has been on.
3) Take another deep breath and see how many bubbles you are able to blow.