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Practicing Mindfulness using the 5 senses

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

Mindfulness takes practice. Oftentimes, we are busy, on the go, and rushing through the

motions of whatever it is that we need to do. Life is busy! But, when we slow down and take

a moment to notice our surroundings, we become more present and aware. Practicing

mindfulness can help us feel more grounded and decrease anxiety. If anxiety is something

you struggle with, mindfulness is a wonderful tool to incorporate into your everyday routine.

There are many different ways to practice mindfulness! We can mindfully move our bodies

(read Mallory Beckwith’s recent blog for more info), practice deep breathing, journal, create

a gratitude list, meditate, garden, notice thoughts and feelings without judgement, and even

incorporate our five senses.

During my internship at Austin State Hospital I found that categorizing mindfulness activities

by our five senses appealed to my clients. Explaining mindfulness through the use of the

senses intrigued my clients, it was easy for them to understand, and they enjoyed the


Here I will break down mindfulness activities by our five senses (sight, sound, smell, touch,

& taste). Take with you what you want, leave what you don’t!

The Mindfulness Five Senses: Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch, and Hearing


1. Watch an entertaining movie or show

2. Look at pictures of someone/something that makes you happy

3. Read a relaxing book

4. Observe nature

5. Change the scenery around you

6. Add sunlight in the room

7. Doodle or color

8. Write affirmations and post them on your desk, mirror, etc.

9. Daydream!

MAJOR PUS: You can do this one anywhere!


1. Play relaxing music (note: listening to music with NO words can help our minds relax

without feeling the need to listen to what someone is saying.)

2. Listen to nature sounds

3. Find silence

4. Call a loved one and listen to their voice

5. Listen to a meditation app

6. Listen to a noise from a happy moment in life

7. Have your favorite TV show or movie playing in background


Scents have a strong, unique power to transport us to the past, allowing us to recount significant memories. Adding scents into your self-care routine can be a great way to change our


1. Light a candle or turn on wax warmer

2. Use essential oils

3. Smell fresh flowers

4. Spray on your favorite perfume

5. Use lotion/shampoo/body wash with your favorite scent

6. Cook/bake something that you love the smell of

7. Go outside and breathe in the fresh air


1. Put on comfy clothes or grab a cozy blanket

2. Take a warm bath/shower

3. Get a massage

4. Give/receive a hug

5. Rub lotion, oil, soap, scrub, etc. on skin

6. Feel different textures

7. Place one hand on your heart, and one hand on your tummy and practice deep breathing

8. Trace the outside of your fingers with your opposite index finger. Pay attention to how

this feels and watch your hand slowly move around each other.


1. Eat something of each: sweet, savory, sour

2. Practice mindful eating

3. Eat a childhood favorite

I hope you found something that appealed to you in this list. There are hundreds of ways to

incorporate mindfulness into our everyday routine! I challenge you to try something new this


Ellen Meystedt, M.A., LPC-A, NCC (Supervised by Karen Burke, LPC-S, RPT-S, CCST-T) is a therapist who works at Austin Family Counseling in Austin, Texas. She primarily does Play Therapy with her clients who are ages 2+. Ellen is very talented with children and enjoys working with very young populations. If you would like to reach out to Ellen to learn more about her Play Therapy practice you can call her at (512) 838-3802 or email her at

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