Mindfulness and Acceptance Exercises and Resources

In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), practicing mindfulness and acceptance is a way to begin to notice our present moment experience with less struggle. Below we provide links to a variety of exercises that many people have found helpful.


Audio Files and Exercises

Breathing mindfully

Mindfulness and Acceptance of Anxiety

The exercises below help you become more aware of thoughts, feelings, and emotions from a stance of acceptance and willingness. These exercises are specifically developed for people struggling with anxiety.

This next exercise below is similar to the Acceptance of Thoughts and Feelings exercise above, but is a little more challenging.

Mindfulness of Bodily Sensations

The Body Scan is typically done sitting or lying down. It gradually draws your attention from the tips of your toes to the crown of your head.

Mindfulness of Thinking

In the Leaves on a Stream exercise, you can practice letting thoughts drift by.

Here's an interactive Leaves on a Stream computer simulation at ThinkMindfully.com.


Mindfulness of everyday activities

Any of the daily activities we do can be a time to practice being in the present moment, including while eating, washing the dishes, cleaning the house, or brushing out teeth. Below are meditations on eating mindfully and observing your own hand mindfully.

The Unwelcome Party Guest

This animated short from Joe Oliver illustrates the usefulness of practicing acceptance. Click here to watch.


Mindful Inquiry Practice (inspired by Tara Brach)

Books and more extended readings about mindfulness and accetance

Below are some personal recommendations by our team of therapists.

Recommendations from Jenna LeJeune, PhD

The Mindful Couple is a great book for either individuals or couples to work through together. I’ve returned to this book many times in my own life to help me be more intentional about fostering greater kindness, love, and deeper intimacy in my most cherished relationships. I especially like that each of the very short chapters (only 2-3 pages) ends in a specific exercise that I can practice. I find them grounding and they help me reorient to what is most important to me.


Recommendations from Jason Luoma, PhD

Radical Self-Acceptance is an audio rcording that I love by well known meditation teacher and clinical psychologist Tara Brach. Her book Radical Acceptance is also really good too, but I like this recording better as there's something powerful about hearing Tara Brach speak. This recording also includes various meditations that help you to learn some of the basic concepts of mindfulness that are not in the book. Keep in mind that this is not the same as the audio version of the book, Radical Acceptance, but instead a related set of lectures and exercises.

Self-Compassion Step by Step: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself Audible – Original recording is an audio series by Kristen Neff that was something my brother was working through when he died unexpectedly. Throughout his life, my brother suffered with high levels of self-criticism and self-doubt. In my conversations with him before he died, it felt like he was finally finding ways to be kinder and gentler with himself as a result of the practices he learned in this audio series. I'm grateful this audio series is out there and wish the same for anyone else who might be suffering with the same kinds of struggles as my brother.


Recommendations from Melissa Platt, PhD

When Things Fall Apart helped me through a very difficult time in my life many years ago and introduced me to mindfulness and meditation. The book has short chapters that are best absorbed one at a time. There is a good amount of focus on meditation, but valuable to non-meditators as well. 

Radical Acceptance and True RefugeBoth of these books, as well as Tara Brach's audio recordings and blog posts, have helped me to return to a grounded, open, and compassionate place in myself over and over again. The books use personal examples from the author's own life, as well as the lives of her psychotherapy clients to illustrate the challenge and power of cultivating a heart that is ready for anything.

True Love is a short book that focuses on the power of loving and being loved in community.


Recommendations from Paul Guinther, PhD

Full Catastrophe Living was the first book I turned to as a way to learn "what's this mindfulness stuff about anyways?" I liked the way it described the evolving use of mindfulness in healthcare settings and the science behind the practice, while also giving practical guidance on how to get started. I hadn't really thought about the title of the book when I first started reading, and really appreciated coming to learn how powerful openness can be even in the midst of great pain.



Recommendations from Brian Thompson, PhD

The Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety is not only a well-written self-help book that comes with a generous array of goodies (e.g., downloadable worksheets; audio recordings of guided exercises), the first author, SUNY-Albany professor Dr. Forsyth, has conducted research demonstrating the workbook's effectiveness as a standalone self-help book with a variety of anxiety-related problems.

Mindfulness in Plain English is a book I used teach mindfulness meditation. It's one the most engaging mindfulness books I've read. Like it's title suggests, it's easy enough to follow, but it has a depth that makes it a joy to reread. You can find full text copies of the first edition on several websites if you google it.


Recommendations from Magda Permut, PhD

A Path with Heart  was my first introduction to mindfulness practice. The exercises and practices in this book were helpful, and the compassionate perspective on daily life things was very nurturing to my meditation practice.

The Fear Book provides a guide for transforming your relationship to fear, and does it in a way that is compassionate and playful.  And there are little funny drawings too, which I appreciated.




Recommendations from Scott Rower, PhD

Here is a great 2 part introduction by Tara Brach

Part 1 audio (57 min) Part 2 audio (55 min)

Part 1 video (53 min) Part 2 video (58 min)

I often recommend listening to this 2 part orientation to mindfulness because Tara Brach does a beautiful job of explaining something very important that is easy to overlook about mindfulness. Usually when you start a new skill it's helpful to get guidance on what to do. These talks cover that and go further into the more important how to go about practicing meditation in a way that will keep you going. 


Note: Some of the book links above are affiliate links. Using these links does not cost you anything. If you decide to use our link, Amazon.com will share a small percentage of your sale with Portland Psychotherapy. The very small amount of money we make with these links is there in the hope that we can recoup at least a little of the cost of making the resources on our website availale to the public. Please only use these links if you feel like the resources are right for you.


Return to main Exercises and Audio Files page.

Conveniently Located

View Larger Map

Our Colleagues Say it Best

"This clinic is run by leading experts in the field, using evidence based methods that have been shown to work. If you are facing complex or long-standing problems then this is definitely the place to go. You will receive treatment from experienced, compassionate, well trained therapists who will deliver a high level of care. I have known and worked with Jason Luoma for over 6 years and can tell you that he is very committed to helping people develop lives that are fulfilling and satisfying."

- M.W.

"Portland Psychotherapy is a unique and valuable resource in our community as it is staffed by therapists trained in various specialty areas. Drs. LeJeune and Luoma, who started the clinic, are highly respected professionals in the community, known for their extensive knowledge and expertise as therapists, researchers, and trainers. I have referred several of my clients to Portland Psychotherapy and have been most impressed and reassured by the feedback I have received about their experience. I have no hesitation about continuing to refer my clients to Portland Psychotherapy and appreciate the high quality of care that is provided by the professionals in this practice."

- M.B.

"Portland Psychotherapy is special. I have the utmost confidence in each of the clinicians here. They are compassionate, genuine, and have formed a model clinic in the scientist-practioner tradition. They are committed to effectively implementing research-supported treatments and also work to advance the science in our field through psychotherapy research. The clinic enjoys an outstanding reputation among other mental health professionals as a top-notch evidence-based practice. This is a place I would refer a family member or close friend."

- B.G.

"Portland Psychotherapy is a unique practice. It not only provides knowledgeable, compassionate and highly effective treatments for their clients, but it is also a place where the therapists are actively involved in cutting edge clinical research to find ever more effective ways to serve their clients to help improve the quality of their lives. I know all of the therapists in this practice through participation in an ongoing peer consultation group for over 2 years, and I can say without hesitation that these are the professionals I would send my family and friends to if they needed help."