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5 Mindfulness Exercises from Camp Grounded
by Daniel Dinenberg

Just because you’re a “grown-up” doesn’t mean you’re too old for summer camp. At least, that’s what the crew behind Camp Grounded believes, and they have quite the following to prove it.

Over three weekends in June, hundreds of campers gather in Anderson Valley, CA, to experience “summer camp for adults.” During the weekend retreats, campers leave the outside world and all technology behind in order to connect with their surroundings, each other, and their own sense of self. In 2015, the intuitive knowledge we shared of the importance of disconnecting to reconnect, led by Levi Felix and his huge heart, showed that we were way ahead of our time.

I had the privilege of leading a workshop — or as Camp Grounded calls it a “playshop” — in early June, and the experience was nothing short of magical. Surrounded by redwoods and singing around campfires, I watched a transformational shift in the eyes of the campers. I witnessed real connections, genuine hugs, joy, and shared intellectual curiosity.

That curiosity led campers to participate in my playshop on mindfulness, which I describe as focused, purposeful awareness, free of judgment.

Here are some of my mindfulness tips to help you unplug, reconnect with your body, and recharge your mind.

1. Connect with Nature

Take a walk and get out in nature, even if it’s just for an urban hike or quick bike ride through the park. This creates an atmosphere conducive to creative thinking that’s free from technology and the pressures of day-to-day work.

2. Connect with Your Breath

Take a deep cleansing breath by inhaling through your nose and sighing out through your mouth. Do this three times.

Don’t miss The Power of Breathing.

3. Do a Mindfulness Breathing Meditation

Sit peacefully and pay attention to your breathing for at least two minutes. Find a comfortable seated position, then bring your awareness to your belly. You can place a hand on your stomach if this helps. Notice all the sensations that come with your breathing–the sounds, the movements, the feelings of your breath. Continue to observe your breathing without trying to control, judge, or alter your breath.

4. Create Sense Memory

This technique allows you to experience positive emotions on demand by recalling sensory experiences — sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch — that evoked heartfelt reactions. In particular, hang on to moments of appreciation and gratitude that trigger a relaxation response in your body.

5. Practice Visualization

Use your creativity and imagination to help form a mental image of an object, place or scene not actually present at the time. Think of a memory or place you’d like to visit, such as your family home or a flowing river, that helps trigger a relaxed, calm response in your body.