Mindfulness Activities for Therapy Groups

Here are some examples of mindfulness activities to do at the beginning of DBT skills training groups, at the beginning of individual therapy sessions, or just at home by yourself.

  • Do a mindful eating exercise using all 5 senses. My go-to in therapy is a Hershey’s Kiss.
  • Have each person carefully observe pieces of the same type of fruit (such as oranges) and then put the fruit together in a bowl. See if each person can recognize their original fruit.
  • Do a guided imagery mediation using a script or audio recording.
  • Play Simon Says.
  • Put objects in a paper bag. Have each group member put their hand in the bag and try to identify objects. Put the names of objects on paper with no identifying information and then, after everyone has had a chance, read all the pieces of paper and see how many of the objects were identified correctly.
  • Do a loving kindness meditation.
  • Toss a soft ball or beanie baby to a group member with the instructions to begin to play catch, then add another ball, and then another. Each player must be alert to and mindful of who they are throwing to and who is throwing to them in order to not drop any of the balls.
  • Do an origami project.
  • Stand in a circle, pass a small ball of yarn around by unraveling it. Have them pass it to each group member, holding the yarn as it unravels, and only passing it to each group member once. Once everyone is holding on to the yarn, wind it up by passing it around in the opposite order that it was sent out being careful not to get it tangled or letting it drop.
  • Blow bubbles and watch them. Follow each one until they pop.
  • Keep a balloon in the air.
  • Add food coloring to water. Watch it spread. Put dish soap in first for a different reaction.
  • Read a simple or childrens’ story to the group. Direct their attention to words they like and ask them to notice them, or direct their attention to objects, smells, colors, phrases.
  • Do a body scan meditation.
  • Color. Detailed mandalas and fine-tipped colored pencils can be used, or crayons and childrens’ coloring books can be used for different effects. Also try using your non-dominant hand.
  • Go on a mindfulness walk.
  • Do a few minutes of meditation focusing on your breath or the way your body feels seated.
  • Do progressive muscle relaxation using a script or audio recording.
  • Play the One Frog game: Use the phrase “One frog / jumped on / the log” with each “/” representing the next group member’s line. The first person says “one frog,” the next says “jumped on,” the next says “the log.” The phrase then changes to “two frogs / two frogs / jumped on / jumped on / the log / the log,” then to 3, 4, 5, etc, repetitions of each line until someone says the wrong phrase and the game starts over.
  • Play Zip Zap Zop, Woosh Ball, and other drama/improv games.
  • Play music without lyrics. What emotions come up? What else is observed?
  • Play Two Truths and a Lie. Each person in the group tells three things about themselves, one of which is a lie. Others try to figure out which one is the lie and use words to convey why they thought it was a lie.
  • Sing Row Row Row Your Boat in a round.