Mindfulness Exercises (for Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Loneliness, PTSD)
Buddha says that stuff like this actually helps clear our mind and remove demonic influence over our mind as well. Brent and I did this a lot to help heal Jesus when he was in a coma. In fact, I would credit our mindfulness exercises for helping save Jesus’s life because my Gail Shield is an extension of Jesus and when I cleared my mind of demonic influences it helped heal Jesus.
Mindfulness exercises you can try
If you want to try mindfulness, you don’t need any special equipment for the following exercises:
- Mindful eating. This involves paying attention to the taste, sight and textures of what you eat. Try this when drinking a cup of tea or coffee for example. You could focus on the temperate, how the liquid feels on your tongue, how sweet it tastes or watch the steam that it gives off.
- Mindful moving, walking or running. While exercising, try focusing on the feeling of your body moving. If you go for a mindful walk, you might notice the breeze against your skin, the feeling of your feet or hands against different textures on the ground or nearby surfaces, and the different smells around you.
- Body scan. This is where you move your attention slowly through different parts of your body. Start from the top of your head and move all the way down to the end of your toes. You could focus on feelings of warmth, tension, tingling or relaxation of different parts of your body.
- Mindful colouring and drawing. Rather than trying to draw something in particular, focus on the colours and the sensation of your pencil against the paper. You could use a mindfulness colouring book or download mindfulness colouring images.
- Mindful meditation. This involves sitting quietly to focus on your breathing, thoughts, sensations in your body or things you can sense around you. Try to bring your attention back to the present if your mind starts to wander. Many people also find that yoga helps them to concentrate on their breathing and focus on the present moment. For more information on meditation and yoga, see our page on types of complementary and alternative therapies.
The above examples are not the only ways you can practise mindfulness. So many activities can be done mindfully. Different things work for different people, so if you don’t find one exercise useful, try another. You can also try adapting them to suit you and make them easier to fit in with your daily life, such as mindfully cooking dinner or folding laundry.
Some people find practising mindfulness in nature can have extra benefits – for suggestions, see our page on ideas to try in nature. For more general examples of exercises to try, see our page on relaxation exercises.
“The mindfulness colouring really helps me unwind and relax in the evening. It promotes better sleep and I go to bed feeling ready to rest rather than anxious and wired.”
In this video, Jonny explains how you might try a mindful eating exercise. This video is two minutes and fifty-one seconds long.
View video transcript as a PDF (opens in new window)
“I love watching the garden change. The difference I make when I dig a bed, plant something or even cut the grass. And honestly I’m no gardener! An easy way for everyone to connect with outside is to watch the birds. Put out a bird feeder to attract them. Otherwise just get outside, blow the cobwebs away, breathe deeply. Bliss.”
Grow or pick food
- Create a growing space. If you don’t have access to a garden, you could plant salad leaves or herbs in a window box or plant pot.
- Plant vegetables in your garden. The Carry on Gardening and Thrive websites have information to help you get started.
- Grow food together with others. Apply to share an allotment, or look for community gardens or food growing projects in your local area. See the National Allotment Society, Social Farms & Gardens or your local council’s website for more information.
- Go fruit picking. Look for local farms or orchards that let you pick fruit to buy. You might also find fruit growing in urban spaces, for example wild blackberries.
- Learn to find edible plants, known as food foraging. You could see if a foraging group meets in your local area. The Woodland Trust website has more information on foraging.
Quick tip: if you’re going fruit picking or foraging, be aware that not all wild plants are safe to eat. Before eating something you’ve picked yourself, make sure you know exactly what it is.
“I very much enjoy being part of a community garden. It gives me a regular weekly time to devote to being outdoors, to work alongside people of lots of different ages and nationalities. It teaches me new skills and techniques. It’s fantastic to work as part of a larger group, to see positive results in terms of seed and plant growth. And to harvest and feel part of the natural cycle of life. To see biodiversity at work.”
Bring nature indoors
- Buy flowers or potted plants for your home.
- Collect natural materials. For example, leaves, flowers, feathers, tree bark or seeds. Use them to decorate your living space or in art projects.
- Arrange a comfortable space to sit. For example, by a window where you can look out over a view of trees or sky.
- Grow plants or flowers on windowsills. See the Royal Horticultural Society website for tips on planting seeds indoors.
- Take photos of your favourite places in nature. Use them as backgrounds on a mobile phone or computer screen. Or print them and put them up on your walls.
- Listen to natural sounds. You could use recordings or apps that play birdsong, ocean waves or rainfall.
- Watch videos of nature. You could try virtual walks or livestreams of wildlife.
Quick tip: save glass jars and use them to make mini gardens (also known as terrariums). Use plants, soil, stones and anything else you’d like to include. Some people like to add seashells, or small toys or figurines.
“I started out by just finding an empty and unused space in the garden outside my window and tending to it.”
Do activities outdoors
- Take a walk in green space. For example, a local park.
- Get creative. Draw or paint animals or nature scenes, or let them inspire a poem or song lyrics. If you enjoy writing in a journal, try doing this outside.
- Eat meals outdoors. Have a picnic in a local park, or sit in a garden if you have one. This might be something you could enjoy doing with other people.
- Watch the stars. Use a stargazing website, app or book to help you recognise different stars, or simply enjoy looking at the night sky. Give your eyes time to adjust, as it can take about 20 minutes before you can fully see stars in the dark.
- Exercise outside. Run or jog through a local park, or do yoga outdoors. You could try it by yourself, or look for classes in your local area.
- Join a local walking or rambling group. There are lots of different organised walking groups. For example, Walking For Health, Ramblers and Black Girls Hike.
- Follow a woodland trail. See the Forestry Commission England and Natural Resources Wales (Cyfoeth Naturiol) websites to look for woodland near you.
- Go beachcombing. Visit the seaside and search the shoreline for interesting things.
- Try geocaching. Geocaching involves looking for items in hidden outdoor locations, using a mobile phone or tablet. For more information on geocaching see the National Trust website.
It can also be helpful to find out if your local area runs any ecotherapy programmes.
“Hill walking and camping help to keep depression and anxiety at bay for my partner, as does trekking and gentle hill walking for me. When you are in nature your mind is free of the daily stresses and you can spend your time being in the moment instead.”
Quick tip: if you’re going out on your own for longer than you usually would, or walking somewhere you don’t know well, plan ahead and remember to keep your safety in mind. It can be helpful to take your phone with you in case you get lost or need to check your route.
“I use photography as a creative outlet to express myself and support my health. It helps you to be mindful in the moment and rediscover the beauty in your own surroundings. Like noticing the resilience of a flower growing with determination though a crack in concrete, or capturing the beauty of raindrop patterns. The process of observing the outside world breaks the cycle of being caught up with negative internal dialogue.”
Help the environment
- Go on a litter picking walk. For example, in the park or on the beach.
- Volunteer for a conservation project. For suggestions see The Wildlife Trusts, Groundwork and The Conservation Volunteers websites.
- Plant helpful seeds. For example, berry bushes for garden birds or flowers to help bumblebees. See the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website for more information on bumblebees.
- Build an animal habitat. For example, a hedgehog house or a bird box. Or create a pond if you have space.
- Try upcycling. Get creative and find a new purpose for your rubbish. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) website has suggestions on upcycling for nature.
“I started volunteering on Saturdays when I was in a really low frame of mind, and it really helped me recover more quickly. I work full-time in an office during the week so doing something so active in such a different environment is a lovely contrast.”
Take notice of nature
- Find things you can see, hear, taste, smell or touch. For example, grass under your feet or the feeling of wind and sunlight.
- Keep a record of what you notice. Take photos or make notes in a diary or on your phone.
- Set yourself challenges. For example, you could try to notice three things in nature each day.
- Listen to recordings of mindfulness exercises. Our information on mindfulness and taking a mindful moment in nature have more tips.
- Think about what you are grateful for. It can be easy to take nature for granted. You could note your thoughts in a gratitude journal or take pictures.
- Try to minimise distractions. For example, you could listen to the sounds around you rather than putting headphones in.
“Crouching in the garden, getting dew and soil on my hands and smelling the lovely, earthy smells is one of the only times I can feel at ease without wanting earphones in to cancel the noise of my busy brain.”
Connect with animals
- Watch out for wildlife. If you don’t live near open countryside, try visiting a local park to look for squirrels, fish, insects, ducks and other birds.
- Visit a local community or city farm. You might be able to help out by volunteering. See the Social Farms & Gardens website for more information.
- Hang a bird feeder outside a window. If there’s space, you could build a small wooden nesting box on a tree or under a windowsill.
- Try birdwatching. You don’t need any special equipment. See the RSPB website for more information on feeding, sheltering and watching birds.
- Try pet-sitting or dog walking. Offer to be a pet sitter in your local neighbourhood, volunteer to walk dogs for an animal shelter, or ask to borrow a friend’s dog for occasional evening or weekend walks.
- Take part in a nature survey. This might involve counting birds, animals or insects in a particular time and place, or reporting individual sightings of wildlife. See the Big Garden Birdwatch, Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Big Butterfly Count for examples of nature surveys.