One of the best ways to become more mindful is to develop a heightened awareness of your sense perceptions.
When most people begin to work with sense-exercises, they often focus on sight and sound as two of the more accessible senses to work with. Even though we feel things constantly, every single day, we are often so habituated to those sensations that we all but ignor them.
So, in this post, I want to offer a few exercises that can bring you back in touch with your sense of touch!
Click here to read more about mindfulness and the five senses.
5 Easy Mindful Touch Exercises
- A Bit Breezy. The first exercise is simply to go outside and pay attention to the breeze. If you feel for it, you can learn to sense a slight pulse in the breeze around you, even on a very calm day. If it’s windy, this might be the rise and fall of gusts of wind, but if it’s calm it might be a light, almost ticklish sensation as small drops of wind pass you by. Close your eyes and become embroiled within the pulse of this breeze. After you practice this outside a few times, take the exercise indoors. You might be surprised to notice that there is always a slight movement of the air around you, even in a still room.
- Do Those Clothes Fit? Next up, it’s time to notice how your clothes actually feel. We wear the same handful of outfits all of the time, but do we ever really pay attention to the way our clothes brush against your skin? Where, exactly, do your clothes rest on your body? Where can you feel them most strongly? Least strongly? What is it, exactly, that makes some clothes feel loose, and others tight, and how could you detail that feeling?
- A Light Touch. Another great exercise to explore your sense of touch is to play with the boundary between touching and not-touching your skin. For starters, take the index finger of one hand and brush it against the other arm. Alternate between pressing firmly into your arm, and then releasing, brushing your arm ever more slightly until you can’t feel your finger. As you move your hand away, try to pinpoint at exactly what point you are no-longer touching your arm. Can you still ‘feel’ your finger, even when you aren’t touching your arm? You could also practice this exercise with other objects, or a partner.
- Everyday Exploration. The art of mindfulness is about making the mundane fascinating. The more that you tune into your senses, the more everyday objects can take on new meaning and new life. For this exercise, grab a handful of ordinary things: a book, a pillow, a plate, an apple, etc, and place them in front of you. Begin to rub your hands across them, holding them gently, exploring the sensation of touching each item. Observe how each truly feels, and notice how often you probably take that sensation for granted, ignoring your sense of touch. Instead, try to describe as many details about the quality of each texture and object as you can.
- Hands-Free. Lastly, you can use the same items you picked in the last exercise, but repeat the process using something other than your hands. We touch everything with our hands, and sometimes forget that our entire bodies can use the same sensation. Place the book on the skin of your leg, or on your chest, for example, and feel the texture and quality of it. Repeat with as many items as you choose.
Discover more activities for sensory awareness, or browse our full list of mindfulness exercises.