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Mindfulness Exercises for Beginners

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

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Just beginning your mindfulness journey? Congratulations! Mindfulness is a wonderful practice that can completely change your life!


If you are completely new to mindfulness we recommend reading our blog post Mindfulness for Beginners - How Do I Start Learning Mindfulness? first and then coming back to these exercises 😊


In this blog post, we'll first go through some of the key points to consider when starting to practice mindfulness as a beginner, and then check out five mindfulness exercises that are perfect for beginners!


Table of contents:

A person admiring beautiful flowers.
Mindfulness makes us appreciate our lives more.

Let's begin!


How Can a Beginner Practice Mindfulness?


When you first start practicing mindfulness and doing mindfulness exercises, there are some things that are good to take into consideration.


Let's check them out:

  1. Start with short exercises - It is usually a good idea to start with shorter, 5-10 minute exercises. This way it is easier for your mind to learn and adapt to this new way of being.

  2. Create a quiet space - Pick a place that is quiet and comfortable so you won't be easily distracted by your surroundings.

  3. Set realistic expectations - Mindfulness is a way of being that requires practice so don't expect perfection or immediate results. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the journey 💚

  4. Try to be consistent - Try to practice mindfulness regularly. It is better to practice just a few minutes every or every other day than 30 minutes sometimes.

  5. Try different techniques and exercises - There are lots of different ways to practice mindfulness. Try out different exercises to find the way to practice that feels most natural to you.

  6. Incorporate mindfulness into your daily life - The goal is to be able to live more mindfully in our everyday lives. Infusing mindfulness in your daily activities from early on helps to reach this goal faster.

You can start learning and practicing mindfulness by yourself from books and online materials.


If you want some additional guidance, mindfulness apps are a great tool for getting daily guidance, assistance, and resources on your mindfulness journey.


For example, Mindfulness.com is a wonderful mindfulness app with lots of resources like exercises, meditations, and useful information. We highly recommend trying it out! You can download the app here (There is a free trial available 😊)

Next, let's check out 5 mindfulness exercises for beginners that we recommend to try out early on on your mindfulness journey! We have also written a thorough review of this app.


5 Mindfulness Exercises for Beginners


As a beginner, it is a good idea to try out a variety of mindfulness exercises to find the techniques that best serve your unique needs.


We've listed below 5 different mindfulness exercises that introduce you to mindfulness techniques like meditation, breathwork, and body awareness.


1. STOP Technique


The STOP technique is a mindfulness exercise used to regain control of your thoughts and emotions in moments of stress, anxiety, or strong emotions.


It's a simple but effective method to help you pause, step back, and respond more mindfully to challenging situations.


Here are the steps for the STOP technique:

  • S - Stop: First, stop everything you're doing or thinking. If possible, find a quiet space where you won't be disturbed (you can also do this exercise in the midst of a stressful situation).

  • T - Take a Breath: Take a few slow, deep breaths. This helps you become more grounded and aware of your breath, which calms your nervous system.

  • O - Observe: Pay attention to your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. Try not to judge them. Just notice what's happening in your mind and body. What thoughts are running through your head? What emotions are you experiencing? How does your body feel?

  • P - Proceed Mindfully: After observing your thoughts and emotions, make a conscious choice about how to respond to the situation. This step helps you to respond more mindfully, rather than reacting impulsively.

The STOP technique helps break the automatic cycle of reacting to stressors and allows you to respond with greater awareness and control.


2. Five-Finger Breathing


The "Five Finger Breathing" is a simple mindful breathing exercise that you can use to help calm your mind and reduce stress.


Here's how you can execute it:

  1. Find a quiet space - Start by finding a quiet and comfortable place where you won't be easily disturbed.

  2. Position your hand - Extend one hand in front of you with your fingers spread wide. You'll use your other hand to trace your fingers during the exercise.

  3. Begin with Your Thumb: As you take a slow, deep breath through your nose, start at the base of your thumb. As you exhale through your mouth, slide your index finger upwards along the side of your other hand's thumb. Focus your attention on your breath as you do this.

  4. Continue to Your Index Finger: Inhale deeply again as you move your index finger across the tip of your thumb. Exhale slowly and mindfully as you slide your index finger down the other side of your thumb.

  5. Repeat with Each Finger: Continue this process for each finger on your hand, moving to the middle finger, ring finger, and pinky finger. Inhale as you trace up, exhale as you trace down. Take your time with each finger, focusing on your breath and the sensation of touch.

The "Five Finger Breathing" exercise helps you stay grounded and connected to your breath and body.


3. Loving-Kindness Meditation


Loving-kindness meditation, also known as "Metta" meditation, is a wonderful meditation where you cultivate a sense of compassion towards yourself and other people.


Here's a step-by-step guide for practicing loving-kindness meditation.

  1. Find a quiet space - Choose a quiet, comfortable place where you feel safe and won't be easily disturbed. You can sit or lie down, whatever feels most comfortable to you.

  2. Center yourself - Take a few deep breaths to get grounded.

  3. Focus on yourself - Repeat the phrase 'May I be happy' to yourself out loud or quietly. Really feel the intention behind the phrase and stay in this sense of compassion for a couple of minutes. You can repeat the phrase as many times as you wish.

  4. Expand on someone you love - Choose someone close to you, and repeat the phrase 'May (your chosen person) be happy'. Send the feelings of compassion their way.

  5. Expand to someone neutral to you - Choose someone neutral to you, such as a store worker or a neighbor you see from time to time but don't know that well. Repeat the phrase 'May (your chosen person) be happy'. Send the feelings of compassion their way.

  6. Expand to the whole world - Repeat the phrase 'May all beings be happy' to yourself, holding the feelings of love and compassion in your heart and directing them to the whole world.

As you continue practicing your loving-kindness meditation, you can switch your phrase sometimes. Try for example 'May I/you be healthy' 'May I/you be loved' or any other intention you wish to share.


You can also at some point try to add people you may have some conflict with to your metta-meditation and send good intentions their way. This may in time free you from feelings of resentment and grudge.

A person laying down with their hands on their heart, practicing loving kindness meditation.
Loving kindness meditation is a wonderful mindfulness and meditation practice for beginners.

4. Five Senses Exercise


The Five Senses Exercise is a mindfulness practice that helps you become more present and aware of your senses. It's a simple and effective exercise that you can do anywhere.


Here's how to do it:

  • Find a comfortable position - Begin again by finding a quiet and comfortable place to sit or lie down. You can perform this exercise with your eyes open or closed.

  • Take a few deep breaths - Start by taking a few deep breaths to relax your body and mind.

  • Engage your senses - Become aware of each of your five senses, one by one. Pay full attention to each sense as you go through them.

  • Sight - Open your eyes if they are closed. What do you see? Look around you and notice the colors, shapes, and objects in your environment. Take in the details without judgment.

  • Hearing - Shift your focus to your sense of hearing. What do you hear? Listen carefully to the sounds around you, both near and far. Acknowledge the silence between sounds.

  • Touch - Shift your attention to your sense of touch. What do you feel? Feel the sensations on your skin, whether it's the warmth of the air, the texture of your clothing, or the surface you're sitting or lying on.

  • Smell - Notice any smells in your surroundings. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose. Identify any scents, whether pleasant or neutral.

  • Taste - If you have access to food or drink, take a small bite or sip. Pay attention to the flavors, textures, and temperatures.

The Five Senses Exercise is a great exercise for grounding yourself in the present moment and increasing your mindfulness.


5. Body Appreciation


Your body is a portal to the present moment. While our minds are always dwelling on the past or the future, our bodies are always here and now.


Appreciating and acknowledging your body is a wonderful way to get out of your mind and feel more grounded and centered.


Here are a few simple ways you can start becoming more mindful of your body:

  • Mirror affirmations - Stand in front of a mirror and say positive affirmations about your body, such as: "I am beautiful" or "I love and respect my body".

  • Gratitude Journal - Keep a journal where you write down things you appreciate about your body each day.

  • Self-Massage - Give yourself a gentle massage and while massaging, express gratitude for each part of your body you touch.

  • Wear what makes you feel good - Choose clothing that makes you feel confident and comfortable.

  • Gentle exercise - Do some gentle stretching and exercise, such as yin or restorative yoga. Try to really listen to your body while practicing; what kind of movement it wants and what doesn't feel so good today.

  • Body scan - Practice body scan meditation, where you systematically focus on each part of your body. Start from the top of your head and move down one body part at a time, acknowledging the sensations you feel in each body part.

Body appreciation practice will in time increase your self-esteem, cultivate more self-compassion, and help you be more mindful and grounded.

A person hugging themself and practicing body appreciation. Body appreciation is a great mindfulness exercise for beginners.
Appreciating your body helps you get grounded and centered 💚

Other Mindfulness Exercises and Resources for Beginners


The five exercises presented above are a great start for your mindfulness journey! Explore with them and take notes. Which exercises make you feel good and which don't seem to really help you?


We recommend giving every exercise a few tries because the first time practicing can often be challenging.


If you want to explore more meditations and mindfulness exercises, here's a list of some mindfulness books and other resources to assist you on your journey:


Books:

Apps:

YouTube Channels:

*-Marked links are affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission if you make a purchase through these links. Your support is appreciated and helps me continue to provide valuable content.




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