Mindfulness Activities to Find Calm at Any Age
In Mindfulness Activities How do you find calm in the midst of chaos?
That’s the question many of us ask ourselves today, as we try to fit our busy lives into even busier schedules and juggle countless responsibilities, from work to children to extracurricular activities.
Whether you’re trying to unwind after an especially trying day or find respite from stress after months of high pressure, these 10 mindfulness activities can help you feel calmer and more peaceful throughout your life.
1) Try Aromatherapy
In Mindfulness Activities: Aromatherapy is one of my favorite ways to relax, and it’s especially great for older adults. Studies show that people who use aromatherapy frequently feel more relaxed and have lower levels of cortisol (aka the stress hormone).
As you get older, your body releases less endorphins, which are chemicals associated with feelings of happiness. So naturally, when you release an aroma into your environment you inhale through your nose, these feel-good chemicals can be released again—and that creates a sense of well-being.
2) Do Some Light Exercise
No, you don’t have to run a marathon or a 5K. That’s not what we mean by exercise. Even mild physical activity can help you manage stress and anxiety.
For example, try taking short walks during your lunch break or parking far away from where you need to be so that you can walk a bit more each day.
Exercise is also an effective way of lowering overall stress levels in general, which, in turn, allows your body and mind time to recover after high-stress situations.
3) Seek Out Positive People
People are inherently drawn toward negativity, so it can be easy to find yourself surrounded by those who view life with a negative lens.
While spending time with others, especially loved ones and friends, is important for feeling connected and happy, it’s vital that you not allow yourself to get too close to those who drag you down in your journey toward living mindfully.
Instead of filling your life with pessimists, look for positive people and spend as much time around them as possible. They will help keep you focused on enjoying life rather than worrying about what could go wrong.
4) Set Intentions Before Going To Sleep
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try setting an intention for what you want your body and mind to feel like as you drift off. An intention is a statement that defines what you want from an experience.
Intentions can be as simple as I intend to fall asleep quickly or as specific as I intend for my muscles and mind to be relaxed, soft, and slow.
The point of setting intentions before bed is that they give us something specific we can aim for when it comes time to fall asleep.
5) Practice Gratitude
Start your day with a personal note of gratitude. Do it in writing, or just say it aloud. Not only does a little appreciation for what you have do wonders for your perspective and attitude, but focusing on what is going right can inspire even more positivity.
And when you get in a habit of thinking about what you’re grateful for, chances are you’ll start seeing even more positive things happening in your life! In fact, research has shown that keeping track of blessings can make people happier overall—and also helps to maintain optimism after stressful events.
A practice of gratitude has been linked with better health and less stress-related conditions such as high blood pressure and depression.
6) Breathe In (And Out!) Deeply
There’s nothing quite like a full breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, most of us take deep breaths infrequently. We’re in too much of a hurry, with too many deadlines and things on our to-do lists that we don’t give ourselves time for just one breath.
That’s not good for our well-being: A recent study found that adults who experienced chronic stress were more likely to die from heart disease than those who didn’t suffer from daily anxiety.
The best way to combat high stress levels? Breathe! Deeply inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth—or simply hold it for as long as you can and then breathe out very slowly.
7) Meditate and Relax Through Sound And Movement
In Mindfulness Activities the word meditation can conjure images of bearded monks sitting in lotus position, but meditation doesn’t have to be religious or esoteric.
Meditation simply involves quieting your mind and focusing on your breathing, letting any thoughts that come up pass without judgment or becoming fixated on them.
One of my favorite ways to meditate is through sound and movement. My preferred method is Tibetan singing bowls, which I use for a 15-minute session every morning.
8) Visualize and Imagine
The best kind of mental imagery comes when you use all five senses. To fully indulge your imagination, close your eyes and picture yourself doing whatever activity it is that brings you serenity.
Think about how it smells, tastes, feels, sounds and looks in as much detail as possible. And by all means, don’t worry if you can’t quite visualize something—simply pretend that you can and make up your own details.
Seeing with our ears or nose (and yes, even tongue) activates more areas of our brain than simply visualizing a scene does alone.
According to Harvard Medical School research from 2006, activities like practicing mindfulness exercises will grow new neurons in areas of our brains where we’re losing cognitive function as we age.
9) Allow Yourself To Take A Time Out
It’s important for your child to learn how to calm themselves before they reach out to you—it’s part of growing up. As a parent, it can be hard not to jump in and take over when you see your kid struggling.
But allowing them space will only help them learn how to solve their own problems and find their own solutions. Take a breather, do some deep breathing yourself, and let them figure it out! (And remember: If you feel like you need professional guidance, don’t be afraid to reach out.)
10) Stop Overthinking Things And Just Relax!
It’s tough not to overthink every aspect of your life, but it is possible. Try clearing your mind by focusing on taking slow, deep breaths for a few minutes each day.
Or find a spot outdoors and take in some natural sights and sounds. If you spend most of your time cooped up inside, unplugging from technology will help clear your head too.
To stop overthinking things, make sure you’re taking plenty of breaks throughout your day and disconnecting for short periods when you can breathe and give yourself time to relax.