65+ Mindfulness Worksheets for Adults, Kids and Your Therapy Sessions

mindfulness worksheetsMindfulness represents an in-the-moment and nonjudgmental way of responding to thoughts and feelings (Kabat-Zinn, 2005).

It involves “Paying attention to something, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn, 2012, p. 1).

Given its ability to enhance emotional balance and well-being, mindfulness represents a useful therapeutic approach among psychologists. Fortunately, many helpful mindfulness worksheets are available for therapists and clients alike.

Given the diverse applicability of mindfulness in the field of psychology, mindfulness worksheets cover a variety of mental health topics (e.g., anxiety, addiction, stress, etc.). Such worksheets also target specific audiences (e.g., children, adults, groups, etc.) and treatment approaches (e.g., cognitive therapy, DBT, etc.).

This article will present 65+ mindfulness worksheets across issues, people, and treatment approaches. Many links to informative books, articles, and downloadable worksheets are also provided. In doing so, those interested in enhancing mindfulness in themselves or others will find an abundance of resources at their fingertips.

The importance of mindfulness tools cannot be overstated, after all:

If you abandon the present moment, you cannot live the moments of your daily life deeply.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Before you read on, we thought you might like to download our 3 Mindfulness Exercises for free. These science-based, comprehensive exercises will not only help you cultivate a sense of inner peace throughout your daily life but will also give you the tools to enhance the mindfulness of your clients, students, or employees.

You can download the free PDF here.

18 Best Mindfulness Worksheets

Mindfulness Skills Workbook for Clinicians and ClientsIn her book: Mindfulness Skills Workbook for Clinicians and Clients, Burdick (2003) provides many excellent mindfulness worksheets. Here are four examples:

 

Handout 2-8: Loving-kindness for Self and Others

This worksheet guides individuals in picturing different people in their minds (including themselves) and learning how to send them love and kindness.

For example:

Individuals consider five types of people to develop loving-kindness toward, such as: Individuals send them loving-kindness based on various examples, such as:
Yourself May I be well
A good friend May I be happy
A “neutral” person May I be free from suffering
A difficult person May my good friend be well

 

Handout 2-9: Journal About Your Understanding of What Mindfulness is

Using prompts, this worksheet helps individuals to learn mindfulness while processing their feelings through journaling.

For example:

Individuals answer journal prompts, such as:
How would you define mindfulness?
How have you started to be more mindful during your day?
How do you feel about being more mindful?
Why have you decided to incorporate mindfulness into your life?

 

Handout 2-16: Journal About a Time You Felt Afraid

Using prompts, this worksheet helps individuals to learn how to get in touch with implicit memories that may be associated with fear.

For example:

Individuals answer journal prompts, such as:
List times in your life when you felt afraid.
Describe what was going on at that time that caused you to fear.
Was there a cause for the fear when you experienced it or was it based on a previous experience?
Was there another time in the past that you experienced that same fear?

 

Handout 2-13: The Prefrontal Cortex

This worksheet helps individuals to understand the functions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) by using an orchestra conductor analogy.

For example:

Individuals are presented with various executive functions performed by the PFC, such as: Individuals are instructed to do the following exercises:
Planning What does a conductor do in an orchestra?
Organizing List things you have trouble doing that are controlled by the PFC
Regulating Attention List things you do well that are controlled by the PFC
Decision Making Practice strengthening PFC processing by practicing mindfulness skills

 

ACT Made Simple: Your Values

Here are several more worksheets to download and use on yourself, or with clients:

The Bull’s-Eye Values Survey

Individuals are asked to consider what matters to them, the sort of person they want to be, and what is standing in the way of them achieving their goals. They are then asked to make an X in the dartboard below to indicate where they are today based on the following categories:

  1. Work/Education
  2. Relationships
  3. Personal Growth/Health
  4. Leisure

Connect the DOTS

This exercise is adapted from Russ Harris’ The Complete Set of Client Handouts and Worksheets from ACT books, in which Harris (2009) also presents numerous useful worksheets centered around acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Individuals are asked to consider the methods they have used to avoid unpleasant thoughts and feelings, along with the long-term impact of such practices. They are then asked to write about their attempted solutions and long-term outcomes.

Methods include:

D – Distraction
O – Opting Out
T – Thought Processes
S – Substance Use & Other

Informal Mindfulness Practice

Individuals are asked to choose regular activities that are part of their daily routines and then to focus on each aspect of it while it is happening. They are also asked to experience these activities as mindfulness practices. This is a great way to introduce mindfulness into a client’s daily life with ‘baby steps’ as they apply it to one, then increasingly more routine activities.

Thoughts and Feelings – Struggle or Acceptance

Mindfulness involves non-judgmental acceptance of one’s thoughts and feelings. In practice, however, this can be hard to do. This Thoughts and Feelings: Struggle or Acceptance questionnaire helps the reader better understand the degree of control they believe they have over their feelings and thoughts.

Struggle examples Acceptance examples
I need to control my emotions to achieve things and be successful. I can be successful without controlling my feelings.
Anxiety is a bad thing. Anxiety is neither good nor bad; it’s an uncomfortable feeling that comes and goes.
I make a concerted effort to suppress unwanted thoughts and emotions. I allow emotions sand thoughts to come and go without trying to suppress them.

 

Valued Living Questionnaire

Individuals are asked about their deeply held values, desired qualities in oneself and in relationships, etc.

Examples of valued areas of life include:

Family relations
Parenting
Recreation/fun
Physical self-care (diet/exercise/sleep)

Willingness, Goals, and Action Plan

Individuals are asked to complete an action plan that includes specific goals, values, underlying goals, actions needed to achieve goals, thoughts and other sensations they are willing to be open to in order to fulfill goals, as well as other useful reminders such as small steps.

STOP the Panic

Individuals are asked to follow the S.T.O.P. approach in times of crisis.

This approach involves the following steps:

  • S: Slower breath
  • T: Thoughts and Feelings
  • O: Open up, and
  • P: Personal values

 

8 Worksheets for Kids and Students

mindfulness activities for kidsCurrent research suggests that mindfulness is related to many benefits among children and teens—such as increased self-esteem, social skills, self-acceptance, calmness, emotion regulation, decreased anxiety, ADHD behaviors, depression, and conduct problems (Burke, 2009).

Mindfulness training also has been associated with increased psychological well-being, self-regulation, and self-esteem among adolescents (Shruti, Uma, & Dinesh, 2018).

Here are some useful worksheets that cover a range of topics for children across grades:

Inside and Outside Worksheet

This worksheet helps kids to understand the value of changing their thoughts to make them more positive, while it also helps trusted adults to understand their emotional experiences.

Right Here, Right Now

This worksheet helps preschool to 5th-grade children to use five sentences to learn about the meaning of mindfulness.

Fun Mindful Eating

This worksheet helps kindergarteners and 1st graders to practice mindful eating by focusing on various sensations during a meal or snack.

Feelings Wheel

This worksheet helps 2nd and 3rd graders to better understand their feelings by creating a feelings wheel.

Gratitude Gifts

This worksheet promotes gratitude in kindergarteners and 1st graders by thinking about the positive impact of gratitude on their lives.

Mindful Listening Challenge!

With this fun worksheet, 2nd and 3rd-graders design their own game that helps others to learn about mindful listening. In doing so, children learn various socio-emotional skills.

– Progressive Muscle Relaxation – Easy Basics

This worksheet provides a deep breathing exercise designed to promote emotion regulation and relaxation in children.

Caregivers are instructed to read a script aloud to a child and take part in the activity with them to demonstrate deep breathing. Here is an example:

“With your back nice and straight, settle into a comfortable standing or seating position. Now gently shut your eyes. Begin with three deep, calming breaths through your nose. Feel the air flowing in, and out. In, and out. In…and out again.”

Dragon Fire Breathing

Dragon Fire Breathing is similar to Deep Breathing, but includes a few more methods for activating the calming parasympathetic nervous system.

Children are asked to breathe in normally, and focus on their exhale, making it as close as they can to a fiery dragon’s breath!

When children regularly practice Dragon Fire Breathing in a calm state, they will be better able to use this technique to diffuse volatile or explosive situations.

 

Two Other Useful Worksheet Sources

Along with the above useful worksheets, there also are many terrific insights and worksheets for young people in the following book by Burdick (2014): Mindfulness Skills for Kids & Teens: A Workbook for Clinicians & Clients.

Additionally, the Nebraska Honors Program Clc Expanded Learning Opportunity Clubs Information Sheet (Schendt, 2019) contains the following fun and creative worksheets aimed at increasing healthy habits among middle school children:

  • Noodle Tower (for cognitive stress coping)
  • Fluffy Slime (for diversion stress coping)
  • Stress Balls (for diversion stress coping)
  • Gratitude Letters (for social/interpersonal stress coping)
  • Letters to Future Self (for cognitive stress coping)
  • Positive Affirmations/Mantras (for cognitive stress coping)
  • Music and Coloring (for diversion stress coping)
  • Team Building and Mindfulness
  • Yoga and Meditation

 

6 Mindfulness Coloring Worksheets

The Mindfulness Coloring BookColoring activities offer a creative way for people of all ages to enhance mindfulness.

In fact, mindfulness coloring books used as part of art therapy are related to significantly reduced anxiety and stress among young adults (Ashlock, Miller-Perrin, & Krumrei-Mancuso, 2019; Simmons, 2016, respectively). Here are some excellent examples:

The coloring book: The Mindfulness Coloring Book: Anti-Stress Art Therapy for Busy People (Farrarons, 2015) helps both adults and children to reduce stress through creativity.

It contains 70 attractive drawing patterns (e.g., butterflies, flowers, and kaleidoscopic designs) intended to promote a sense of serenity.

Education.com also provides many mindfulness-focused coloring worksheets.

Here are six examples:

mandala-coloringMandala Coloring.

This mandala coloring worksheet is designed to foster social-emotional and mindfulness skills among kindergarteners and 1st graders.

Puppy Mind Artwork.

This social-emotional worksheet is designed to promote mindfulness and kindness among 2nd and 3rd graders.

Look out the windowLook Out the Window.

This worksheet is designed to help children to see the incredible world around them.

Family Pride: My Family Rainbow.

This worksheet is designed to help children to celebrate and be more mindful of the palette of their families and communities.

Yoga for kidsYoga for Kids: Mountain Pose.

This coloring worksheet and movement activity is designed to improve children’s attention, performance, and focus, as demonstrated by ‘Roly.’

Yoga for Kids: Happy Baby Pose.

This coloring worksheet and movement activity is designed to improve children’s attention, performance, and focus, as demonstrated by ‘Muggo.’

 

For Anxiety and Stress-Reduction

Mindfulness techniques have been found to help anxious and stressed individuals by promoting relaxation while removing negative judgments (Blanck, Perleth, & Heidenreich et al., 2018). Many mindfulness-focused worksheets have been created to reduce stress and anxiety, and we share 11 examples:

The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for AnxietyIn the book The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety (Forsyth & Eifert, 2016), a great deal of information about anxiety is included, along with how ACT may help to disarm anxiety and fear. The goal is to equip readers with a new way of responding to their fear and stress.

The book teaches numerous skills designed to enable anxious individuals to be “less avoidant and less tangled up with difficult thoughts, and more present, flexible, compassionate, kind with [themselves], and accepting of [their] internal experiences just as they are” (Forsyth & Eifert, 2016, prologue, p. 2).

For each type of anxiety disorder, readers checkmark the symptoms that refer to them. They also are provided with a vignette describing one individual’s experience with that particular disorder. The book is loaded with worksheet exercises, such as the following:

  • Your Life Book of Possibilities. This mindfulness exercise helps readers to shift perspective to the here and now, rather than looking backward.

  • Centering into Your Heart. This exercise allows readers to understand the difference between anxiety and fear by providing a list of potential situations within each category.

  • Has Responding with Fear and Worry Been Useful to Me? With this exercise, readers describe a dangerous event along with their responses to it. By also noting how useful their response was, they can see how fear sometimes results in actions that promote safety.

The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Social Anxiety and ShynessThe book The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Social Anxiety and Shyness (Fleming & Kocovski, 2013) includes a wealth of information about what social anxiety looks like and the various mindfulness approaches that may result in substantial relief from it.

It includes both guided mindfulness exercises (with audio downloads available online), as well as written exercises.

Like the previous book, Fleming and Kocovski are focused on an ACT approach to anxiety. Here are a few worksheet examples:

  • Situations Involving Social Interaction. This worksheet provides information about different social situations along with a checklist of specific cases where social anxiety may be triggered. The worksheet is followed by two more with the same format but focused on the anxiety situations that involve being observed by others and performing in front of others.

  • Top Three Feared Social Situations. With this exercise, readers are asked to describe their top three most feared situations.

  • The Costs of Outright Avoidance. This exercise helps readers to identify how avoiding difficult social situations has a cost. It involves listing each avoided situation in one column and the associated costs in the next column (e.g., situation: avoiding parties; cost: loneliness).

  • What Are You Giving Up for Safety? This exercise helps individuals identify the various costs for their safety behaviors as pertaining to their top three feared situations.

Education.com also provides several mindfulness-focused worksheets specific to children dealing with stress and anxiety. Here are four examples:

  • Let’s Breathe, Five-Finger Style! This exercise is designed to help kindergarteners and 1st graders learn five fingers mindful breathing.

  • Range of Emotions. This exercise is designed to help kindergarteners and 1st graders learn to recognize their range of emotions.

  • Belly Breathing to Calm, Focus, and De-Stress. This exercise is designed to help kindergarteners and 1st graders use belly breathing to calm themselves and deal with stress.

  • Negativity Bias. This exercise is intended to help 2nd and 3rd graders to understand why humans tend to remember negative experiences. It enhances stress management by asking kids to write or draw ten recent positive experiences, as well as to send positive messages to others.

 

Useful Worksheets for DBT Sessions

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a therapy technique used for the treatment of a variety of mental issues and disorders, such as borderline personality disorder, depression, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation.

Developed by Marsha Linehan, DBT teaches individuals the skills to deal with their painful emotions. Given Linehan’s extensive Buddhism background, DBT is grounded in mindfulness philosophy. Indeed, Linehan uses this experience

as a subtle learning device that opens up the current moment without reserve or grudges including emotions (feeling states) and understandings of the inner world of being.

Eist, 2015, p. 887

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills WorkbookIn the book Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises (McKay, Wood, and Brantley, 2019), a number of useful DBT worksheets and exercises are provided. Here are five examples:

  • Exercise: Take a REST. Using the ‘REST’ strategy, readers are reminded to Relax, Evaluate, Set an Intention, and Take Action. After recalling a recent tricky situation, they are then asked several questions such as: “What happened?”How they responded?” And “how they might have coped better using the REST approach.”

  • Radical Acceptance. With this exercise, individuals are asked to accept situations without judgment.

  • Distract Yourself from Self-Destructive Behaviors. This exercise involves coming up with relatively safe ways to distract oneself from self-destructive feelings and behaviors.

  • Create Your Distraction Plan. For this exercise, individuals come up with distraction skills following the REST approach to use when encountering a painful situation. After writing their distraction techniques in a list, they are then asked to write them on sticky notes (or on their phones) to be taken with them to use during tough situations.

  • Create A Relaxation Plan. With this exercise, readers create a list of soothing and relaxing skills (using their five senses) that they can use at home.

DBT Skills TrainingFor a highly useful workbook on DBT, readers are encouraged to check-out Linehan’s book DBT? Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets (2015).

This book is packed with DBT exercises, worksheets, and handouts that cover each of the DBT skills modules.

 

For Your Cognitive Therapy Sessions

Cognitive TherapyCognitive therapy is a standard psychological treatment for various mental disorders.

It involves working with therapists to identify the feelings, thoughts, and beliefs that impact an individual’s ability to modify behaviors.

Mindfulness activities (e.g., relaxation while removing negative or stressful judgments) are often combined with cognitive therapy to create a powerful way of dealing with anxiety and other emotional challenges.

Various mindfulness-based cognitive therapy worksheets are available elsewhere on this site. For example, our PositivePsychology.com resources include the following six examples:

Core Beliefs Worksheet 1

This worksheet helps individuals to identify their core beliefs about themselves, others, and the world as a whole. A core belief definition is provided along with some questions to help you challenge them.

Core Beliefs Worksheet 2

This worksheet helps individuals to identify the negative core beliefs they hold about themselves.

Increasing Awareness of Cognitive Distortions

This exercise can be used to help clients recognize distorted thinking and reduce the negative impact of these thinking patterns.

Questions For Challenging Thoughts

This worksheet contains a list of questions that you can use to challenge any unwanted or unhelpful thoughts that bother you.

Cognitive Restructuring Worksheet

This worksheet uses the Socratic questioning technique to help the user to challenge irrational or illogical thoughts.

Moving from Cognitive Fusion to Defusion

With this activity, you can help clients who are caught up in the content of their thinking. The exercise creates some distance from the literal meaning of their thoughts, instead encouraging greater awareness of thinking as a continued, active cognitive process.

 

For Treating Addiction and Relapse Prevention

Relapse is a significant challenge for individuals dealing with addiction. Relapse prevention is grounded in cognitive-behavioral theory and is aimed at preventing relapse (as defined by the individual’s treatment goals), as well as relapse management (Marlatt & Donovan, 2005).

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy also has been found effective for the prevention of depression relapse (Williams, Crane, & Barnhofer et al., 2014). Worksheets provide helpful tools for relapse prevention professionals.

For example:

  • Core Beliefs Suitcases. This exercise involves having individuals ‘unpack’ the false self-beliefs that may be influencing them negatively (e.g., “If I tell others how I feel, they will think I’m weak”). It uses the suitcases and unpacking metaphor to illustrate how our core beliefs impact our behaviors.

  • Identifying Emotional Avoidance Strategies. This exercise involves having individuals identify various ways to dodge feelings from a list that is provided (e.g., gambling, overeating, etc.).

  • Interacting With Your Emotions. Here’s a worksheet that invites the user to become more familiar with their emotions, by reflecting on the different ways they might feel in common situations.

  • Linking Feelings and Situations. This exercise involves having individuals identify past experiences when they felt particular emotions (e.g., anger, fear, etc.) to enable them to connect feelings with situations.

  • Negative Thoughts Checklist. This exercise involves having individuals identify repetitive negative thoughts (i.e., habitual thoughts about oneself and the world that cause emotional pain). It also helps the user consider the core beliefs they are linked to. Potential repetitive thoughts include: “I can’t deal with this” and “Nobody loves me,” etc.)

Our free relapse prevention worksheets can also help clients identify coping strategies to manage their recovery journey:

Preventing Relapse

This worksheet helps individuals to identify relapse red flags, people they can contact to deal with cravings, and things they can do to distract themselves from relapsing.

Managing Cravings

This worksheet helps clients identify specific scenarios where their cravings are strongest, then create a coping strategy.

Modes Influencing Recovery

This psychoeducational resource outlines 7 modes that influence recovery from addiction, e.g. affect, behavior, and social modes. Clients can use it to design a plan for tackling challenges they identify.

 

5+ Group Mindfulness Worksheets

mindfulness bingoMindfulness techniques also may be offered in a group setting. This approach may be advantageous for some because it is often cheaper than individual therapy and enables participants to experience feedback from multiple group members.

Group leaders may incorporate mindfulness worksheets as a way of enhancing clients’ self-understanding and identifying useful tools to promote mindfulness.

Here are two examples:

  • Walking Down The Street. Awareness of how our thoughts and feelings are linked, and observation of our own thoughts, can reveal negative cycles in which the two reinforce one another. This PositivePsychology.com Toolkit exercise helps group therapy clients in two ways. First, by understanding that thoughts are mental events, not facts. Group leaders can also use it to demonstrate how emotional reactions reflect interpretations, rather than the reality, of situations.

  • Teaching Others About Mindfulness. This worksheet helps students to develop a lesson plan for mentoring younger kids in developing the skills to deal with stress and anger.

Practicing group mindfulness also may be fun! Here are two examples of printable worksheets that teachers or group counselors might want to check out:

Mindfulness-based team-building worksheets also provide terrific ways to promote positive emotional health:

Squeeze and Release

This fun team building activity uses stress balls to teach participants about the stressful consequences of failing to focus on the present.

Cultivating Mindfulness Through Single-Tasking

This resource demonstrates the illusion of multitasking to clients and offers concrete guidelines to help them to adopt a more mindful (single-tasking) approach to life.

Silent Connections

This group exercise heavily emphasises mindfulness of others, by inviting group participants to build connections through non-verbal communication.

It is also worth noting that many of the PositivePsychology.com mindfulness worksheets available to parents, clinicians, and teachers may be adapted to meet the needs of classrooms or group therapy sessions.

 

More Valuable Resources from PositivePsychology.com

Of course, our very own site provides even more excellent resources for promoting mindfulness. For example, 22 mindfulness exercises, techniques, and activities are available on our website and include such approaches as:

  • The Raisin Exercise
  • The Body Scan
  • The Self-Compassion Pause Worksheet
  • The 3-Step Mindfulness Exercise
  • Mindful Eating for Four Minutes

The following exercises are part of our Toolkit, which is a science-based online platform with over 300 exercises, activities, and other tools for professionals:

If you would like to explore even more on the topic of mindfulness, here is an excellent selection of popular blog posts:

Last but not least, there is Mindfulness-X!

Designed for professionals, this online package allows you to personalize a demonstrated, science-based, 8-session mindfulness training and use it to inspire the lives of your clients and students. The course is based on scientific research and is fully referenced. It is an invaluable tool not only for you to master the eight pillars of mindfulness, but to impact others positively by teaching them mindfulness.

These are just a few examples of the numerous mindfulness tools and worksheets provided by PositivePsychology.com; there are many more resources available for those interested in bringing more mindfulness into their lives.

 

A Take-Home Message

There may never have been a time in history when practicing mindfulness has been more important. With our fast-paced society and technological advances, many of us find ourselves constantly overexposed to stressful messages and situations.

Or, in the words of Kabat-Zinn:

Even before smartphones and the Internet, we had many ways to distract ourselves. Now that’s compounded by a factor of trillions.

Learning how to live-in-the-moment and to accept emotions and thoughts without judgment (i.e., mindfulness) is an effective way to experience greater tranquility and contentment.

Fortunately, modern-day technology also boasts some important perks, namely, a vast amount of accessible information for individuals interested in learning or teaching mindfulness.

In this article, 80+ worksheets have been provided, along with numerous printable handouts. These resources cover more general mindfulness topics, as well as mindfulness for kids and teens, for anxiety reduction, for DBT, for cognitive therapy, for addiction and relapse prevention, and for group therapy.

Therefore, whether you are a therapist, teacher, parent, or simply someone who wants to experience a more mindful existence, a plethora of tools are available to help you. So, go ahead and give mindfulness a try, as you may find that:

with mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment.

Thich Nhat Hanh

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our 3 Mindfulness Exercises for free.

If you wish to learn more, Mindfulness X© is our 8-module mindfulness training package for practitioners which contains all the materials you’ll need to not only enhance your mindfulness skills but also learn how to deliver a science-based mindfulness training to your clients, students, or employees.

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About the Author

Heather Lonczak holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a focus on Positive Youth Development. She has published numerous articles aimed at reducing health disparities and promoting positive psychosocial youth outcomes (e.g., academic achievement, cultural identity, mindfulness and belief in the future). Heather is also a children’s book author whose publications primarily center around the enhancement of child resilience, as well as empathy and compassion for wildlife.

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