5 Free Mindful Activities for Groups

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Do you find it tricky to come up with ideas for group activities that most people are happy about and won’t break the bank?

Well, it doesn’t have to be—as long as you understand:

  • It’s almost impossible to make everyone happy, at least not always
  • Switching things up helps
  • Give them what they need, not (necessarily) what they want

That being said, mindful group activities can be one of the best ways to come together with friends for quality time with a purpose.

In this article, we’ll show you five free mindful activities for groups you should consider.

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Why Mindful Group Activities?

Good question. You don’t have to go for mindful activities, but they are getting trendy nowadays. The reason is simple: More and more people are learning/trying to learn to be mindful.

Because being mindful is the first and the most important step of personal development—not to mention how good it feels to be mindful.

Mindful activities also help a group bond on a deeper level. Sure, you can order pizza and binge Netflix—that’s not a bad idea to end a stressful week. But the pleasure doesn’t last long, and you’ll be craving something else.

Quoting Vincent’s (played by Ethan Hawke) line from the movie “Tape”: “I like it. It’s like getting a whisky shot in the morning. But ten minutes later, I want my coffee.”

Mindful activities might not give you instant gratification like your pizza or beer, but they are like your coffee/tea in the morning that keeps you energized and pumped throughout the day. 

Who Can Benefit From Mindful Activities?

Everyone. From toddlers to elders. But these activities can especially benefit those who have stressful jobs, sensitive nervous systems, or those who are seeking a higher level of spirituality.

And here’s the hard truth: Everyone needs mindful activities, considering the noisy world we live in. Mindful activities can be a key to our inner peace.

Identify Your Group

Who are we talking about here? A group of entrepreneurs seeking networking/business development? Or a “Mommy & Me” class?

Always keep your groups’ needs in mind before you decide on any activities. Remember: The activities are for your groups, not for you. 

With these things in mind, let’s explore!

1. Journaling

Since you’re reading this article from a writer who journals every day, it shouldn’t strike you as a crazy idea.

In fact, journaling has been one of the most frequently done activities in group coaching settings, masterminds, workshops, masterclasses, or even networking events. 

Why? Because it works. It needs little or no explanation. Anyone can do it. And most importantly, it takes the pressure off of your shoulder as an organizer.

Journaling can happen either at the beginning or near the end of an event. If you start the event with journaling, it sets the tone for what you are going to achieve in the time together; If you conclude the event with journaling, it helps you solidify what you’ve achieved, and complete this journey. 

Set a timer of 10-15 minutes and ask your participants to journal on specific topics related to the theme/purpose of your event. You can also throw a bunch of questions for them to answer, so they gain clarity in this process. 

For example, if you coach creatives (which is what I do), I’ll ask participants to journal and answer these questions:

  • How would you describe yourself as a creative/artist? 
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Where do you see yourself in 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, or 5 years?
  • How do you get in your own way?
  • If we were to work together, what results would make you feel the investment is worth it?

Of course, journaling doesn’t have to be like this, or happen in these settings. But I’m sure you can see why it’s beneficial—it improves communication between me and my participants, and helps participants better understand themselves in the meantime. 

I call journaling “flushing the pipes”—it feels as good as going on a detox, and it can happen at time, anywhere, as long as you have a pen and paper. Whether to share the thoughts is entirely up to you and the participants, but it is undoubtedly one of the most versatile and helpful activities that helps2 you gain clarity and stay mindful.

2. Cooking

What? Cooking is a mindful activity? Of course it is.

Now, I’m not talking about making French fries at McDonald’s because you’re desperate for some income—although I’m sure you can make it a mindful experience. 

The reason cooking ranks second on my list is that… well, the fruit of this activity can give you tons of satisfaction and pleasure! And the process is equally entertaining, and educational. 

Cooking is a great family activity—that goes without saying. If you have kids, you can easily decide how to get them involved depending on their age and preferences. It’s also a great exercise to foster their sense of responsibility.

It can also be a bonding experience between adult children and parents. My parents and I live thousands of miles apart, and cooking is one of the things we have to do every time we have a get together. 

And here’s the key: If you see cooking as a means to feed yourself without spending money on delivery/take-outs, you might just do it to get it over with. 

If you see cooking as an experience you share with your loved ones, or as a way to show affection, you will be mindful. You will pour love into this process and get more out of it. 

That’s why cooking can also be a great idea for an at-home date. You can get a lot of details about your date through cooking together: Is this person willing to share the workload? Do they put flavor before nutrition? Do they complain when things don’t go their way? Do they put you first, or themselves?

See, when you make cooking a mindful experience, you’ll get so much more out if. 

3. Eating A Mindful Meal

You should see this one coming right after cooking, right? Of course, except that while eating is basically an animal instinct, you really have to put an effort into mindful eating. 

Eating a mindful meal might come naturally after you cook mindfully—after all, you already put an effort into cooking. Why not just go the extra mile and REALLY TASTE what you’ve cooked?

If you eat in a fancy restaurant, you can also easily make it a mindful experience by savoring the food, and paying undivided attention to the person/people sitting next to you.

If you order delivery or eat fast food, however, it’s easy to just “get it over with”. After all, the whole point of delivery and fast food is convenience—which means feeding yourselves with the least amount of effort. 

It’s your choice. You are going to eat no matter what, so why not make it mindful?

4. Low-Intensity Outdoor Activities

We all owe ourselves some much-needed sunlight and fresh air after the pandemic, so why don’t embrace some outdoor activities?

While you can certainly be mindful when you do exercises with higher levels of intensity, they may not be a great fit for groups with different fitness levels. 

That’s why, as much I love yoga, I would not drag my parents or partner to do it with me—I either do it solo, or attend a class with a bunch of people who share the same interests.

But with hiking, biking, jogging, kayaking, or even dog walking, you can get family and friends involved as much as you like. 

Focus on the view, on the experience, on your feelings, on each other. Tell each other how you feel at that moment. Describe the sunrise or sundown. Describe the color of the sky. Pay attention to how your dog wags its tail. Listen to your kids telling you about school and their friends. 

These are much easier to achieve when you are doing outdoor activities than when you bury your head behind your computer. 

5. Gardening/Crafting

If you have a garden, go work on it. If you don’t, do some crafty things! These are also great family activities for mindfulness, and a great way for creative expressions. 

And the best part? Unless you are going for a competition or contest, there’s little to zero pressure with these activities. You do them for the pure joy—that will make it easy for you to stay mindful..

Final thoughts: I can certainly keep listing these activities, but did you notice I didn’t include “meditation”?

You’re right. Meditation is not an end, but a means to an end—which is inner peace and mindfulness.

All the activities listed above are “meditation in motion”, which serves the purpose, yet brings more compounding benefits. Go try them!

Additional Resources

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About the author

Yiqing Zhao
Yiqing Zhao is a creative life coach certified in NLP and Habit Coaching. She is also an award-winning actor, filmmaker, and author. She helps artists and entrepreneurs belong, become, and maximize their creativity to create the life they want. Hang out with her on Instagram.

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