You may be wondering what makes a moment or an activity “mindful”. Mindfulness is a word described by expert Jon Kabat-Zinn as, “the awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” But how is paying attention to the moment related to health? Over the past 20 years researchers have found that practicing mindfulness can help us to notice and understand our emotions, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve short-term memory, help with focus and attention, experience more positive emotions, and more (Davis & Hayes, 2011).
Although practicing mindfulness may sound simple, it is helpful to have activities you can use to get mindful. This is why the Jordan’s Principle Social Work & Counselling team at St.Amant put together this booklet along with online videos, to give some examples of mindful activities that families can do at home.
Five Finger Breathing Activity
What is Five Finger Breathing?
Five Finger Breathing is a mindful breathing activity that can help calm down your mind and body. Deep breathing can be a good way to practice mindfulness and also helps our bodies to slow down, calm down, and relax.
What you will need:
All you need is yourself!
Benefits of Mindful Breathing:
Mindful breathing can help to reduce stress and encourage regulation and relaxation.
1. Sit or stand in a relaxed position
2. Stretch one hand open wide in front of you
3. Hold up your pointer finger from the other hand
4. Start at the bottom of your thumb and use your pointer finger to trace up your thumb
5. As you trace up, breathe in through your nose
6. When you get to the top, trace down the other side of your thumb and breathe out through your mouth
7. Repeat for all of your fingers until you have traced your whole hand
What is Slime? Slime is a sticky, gooey substance that can be easily made at home. It is a fun activity but make sure to wash your hands after playing with it and don’t eat it.
What you will need:
– 2 bowls
– Elmer’s glue
– warm water
– stir sticks
– glitter, food colouring, shaving foam, sprinkles (optional)
1. Pour 1 cup of warm water into the bowl and add 1 teaspoon of borax – this is the slime activator.
2. Add 1/2 a cup of water into the second bowl and mix in about 1/2 cup of Elmer’s glue. (If you want to add anything to your slime mix it into the glue and water mixture.
3. Now for the fun part, pour the glue mixture into the activator and mix it up with your hands. As your squish it around the slime will begin to form right before your eyes!
Benefits of Slime:
Slime is fun to create, as it can help kids get interested in science. It is also fun way for children to
connect with a caregiver or friend, and can be very calming for some children.
Loving-Kindness Meditation Activity
Benefits of Loving-Kindness
Loving-kindness Meditation has been an important tool for wellness in some cultures for thousands of years. Although there are many different ways to practice this skill, the purpose is the same- to feel good about yourself and your life. It can be really easy to focus our attention on all that is going wrong and disappointing you, especially in tough times. This activity reminds you to bring attention and love to your relationships with others, and to your relationship with yourself.
1. Find a quiet place to sit up tall, with feet planted flat on the ground.
2. Close your eyes or tilt your chin down slightly toward your chest, gazing toward the ground.
3. Begin by taking a deep breath in through your nose, allowing your breath to expand your belly for a count of 4.
4. Next let that deep breath out slowly through your mouth, drawing your belly-button back toward your spine.
5. Repeat this pattern through 3 deep breaths, then let your breath flow naturally in and out.
6. Picture in your mind someone who naturally brings a smile to your face, causing you to feel warm and whole inside.
7. While you think about this loved one, repeat the following phrase silently to yourself, or make one up that feels right to you:
“May you be well and happy, may you live with peace of mind.”
8. As you begin your next in-breath, think about someone you don’t know very well and have no strong feelings about. Repeat the phrase from before silently to yourself while picturing this person.
9. On the next in-breath, picture someone you have been feeling annoyed with. Repeat the phrase again silently, imagining this person is in front of you.
10. As you take the next breath in, think about your whole community. Repeat the phrase silently, picturing your words reaching everyone in the community.
11. On the next in-breath think about the entire planet. Repeat this phrase silently once again, imagining each word reaches the hearts of everyone around the world.
12. With the next breath in, think about yourself. Repeat this phrase silently to yourself and really try to feel that same warmth about yourself as you did about all of the others you sent loving kindness to throughout the activity.
Benefits of Yoga:
• Increased flexibility.
• Increased muscle strength and tone.
• Improved breathing, energy and relaxation.
• Maintaining a balanced metabolism.
• Heart and lung health.
• Protection from injury.
The poses we will be going through are Butterfly, Upward-Facing Dog, Crescent Lunge, Mountain pose, Seated Twist, and lastly the Tree pose.
• Sit in a comfortable position with your legs stretched out in front of you.
• As you inhale, draw your feet towards you, keeping the soles your feet together and your back straight.
• Stretch and straighten your back tucking your chin in toward your chest.
• With each exhale, fall heavy into the floor and relax or sink a bit more deeply into the stretch.
• Hold the soles of your feet tightly with your hands. Stay here for 1-2 minutes. Take this time to think of three things you’re grateful for today.
• Begin seated on the ground with both legs stretched long in front of you.
• Lift your right leg and place it over your left leg, knee toward the ceiling, and right ankle by the left knee.
• Reach your right arm behind you and place your palm on the floor. Then place
• your left elbow to the outside of the right knee.
• Continue pressing your left arm into your right knee and use each inhale to lengthen your back, and each exhale to rotate further to the right.
• Stay here for five or more mindful breaths. Then release the twist, straighten your legs out in front of you, and repeat this pose on the other side.
• Begin by lying flat on your stomach with your legs extended behind you.
• Stretch your arms down the side of your body and place your palms flat on the ground by your waist.
• As you inhale press your palms and the tops of your feet into the floor. Straighten your arms to slowly lift your chest, and the front of your legs off the floor.
• Draw your shoulders away from your ears. Keep your gaze forward or tilt your head slightly if that is comfortable to do so.
• Hold for 3-5 breaths then release back to the ground.
• From a standing position, take a big step forward with your right foot to start in a staggered stance, with your feet almost mat length apart.
• Bend your right knee until your right thigh is matching to the floor. Keep your back leg straight and heel slightly lifted.
• Extend your arms toward the ceiling and stretch up as you press into the ground below and feel the stretch in your hips.
• You can look directly forward or gaze up slightly towards your hands
• Hold for five mindful breaths. To release, lower your arms and step your back-foot forward.
Repeat on the other side.
• Stand tall, with your toes touching and feet slightly apart. If it is more comfortable, you may
keep your feet a few inches apart.
• Allow your body to gently sway back and forth. The weight should be even on each foot, from front to back and side to side. To do this, ground down, lift your kneecaps, and engage your thighs.
• Slowly bring the swaying to a standstill. Stop with your weight balanced evenly on your feet.
• Press your shoulders back and straighten your arms beside your torso.
• Breathe deeply, and hold this pose for a couple of breaths, or as long as you are comfortable.
• Start by standing straight with a long, tall back and your feet aligned and touching. Your arms should be straight along either side of your body. Find a straight line of energy through the center of the body, from the inner arches up through the crown of the head.
• Bring your right foot to the inner thigh of your left leg. Squeeze your foot and inner thigh together. The knee of your right leg should be turned out and your toes facing down toward the ground.
• Once you’ve found your balance, lift your hands to a V-shaped position in front of your chest or up overhead if that feels better for you.
• Keep your gaze focused on a fixed point in front of you to help stay balanced.
• Hold for 5–10 breaths, then switch sides
Zentangles are an easy-to-learn art form that uses repetitive patterns to create a beautiful image. Zentangles use square tiles to create many different patterns. These tiles can later be pieced together to make a larger tile or mosaic. You can also turn your Zentangle drawings into wall art, cards, or bookmarks.
What you will need:
All you need for this craft is paper and a drawing tool (pencil or pen).
1. Choose your paper. You can use any type of paper you like.
2. Choose your drawing utensil. You can use markers, pencil crayons, or pens.
3. Finally, you may wish to use some crayons or pencil crayons to colour your design.
Benefits of Mindful Drawing:
Mindful drawing has many benefits including reduced stress and an overall feeling of relaxation. Drawing is a great way to take a break and enjoy time for yourself. Zentangle art does not require any drawing experience and can be done alone or with others. This craft is suited for ages 7 and up.
Ready to draw? Find a comfy place to sit, grab your pen and paper, and watch the “Mindful Moments with St.Amant-Zentangles” tutorial to help you get started!