In the age of social distancing, group mindfulness activities don’t seem like they’d be especially easy. However, this is the perfect time to strengthen bonds, as so many friends and coworkers are physically absent from our lives.
Furthermore, these group mindfulness exercises can be done from a distance. So at your next Zoom meeting, FaceTime, or socially-distanced small gathering, try one of the following. You’ll build bonds that have eroded with time and learn something new in the process.
Have your group listen to a story, a podcast, or a song together. There is no interaction while the piece plays. After, everyone takes turns sharing what the piece means to them, uninterrupted.
After everyone shares what was meaningful or important about what they heard, have a discussion or do a journal exercise examining this. What does this tell you about the other person? Why might their takeaway be different than yours? What did everyone else pick up that you missed?
Sharing for Compassion
This is a great mindfulness exercise for groups of people that have closer bonds, like dear friends, support groups, or family members. Each member of the group will write down or talk about an experience where they feel disappointment or regret.
Then, the rest of the group will take turns giving a thoughtful, compassionate response. For example, if they regret forgetting a birthday, another listener would point out that they work so hard to provide for their family that it makes sense they would lose track of important dates.
The exercise teaches listeners to find ways to be compassionate. Yet it also helps the person sharing find self-compassion and ways to forgive themselves.
A Mindful Memory
Catching up with old friends? Reconnecting with family members who moved far away? Reminisce more mindfully. Choose a memory and take turns retelling it. Allow one another space to completely recall that time.
As you share your account, tune and in and recall details such as what someone was wearing, the weather, or any smells or sounds that come up. You’ll all perhaps pick up something you forgot, and this is a good way to mindfully enjoy or process emotions you connect to that time.
Communal Sound Baths
The Mother of All Group Mindfulness Exercises - the sound bath. Working remotely, homeschooling, and generally just trying to take care of business while so much is shut down is tough. Instead of your average Zoom meeting, schedule a company sound bath.
You can hire an instructor to join your meeting and guide everyone, or you can agree to conduct the sound bath. Have everyone take an upright meditative posture and close their eyes as you listen to a sound therapy track. Or you and another team member can play singing bowls for everyone.
How do you think group mindfulness activities might help your relationships? Are you looking to slow down and enjoy someone’s company, or would you like to get to know someone better? If you have any more group mindfulness ideas, share them for others in the comments.