Slow Down & Calm with this Easy "Windshield Wiper" Mindfulness Exercise | Marcy Nelson-Garrison

Windshield Wiper on Wet Windscreen with Blue Sky Behind

Mindfulness is a powerful tool to connect with ourselves and slow down. This easy yet powerful mindfulness exercise helps us (both ourselves and our clients) slow down, connect to our bodies and ground ourselves in this moment. Even better it requires no props, no formal script—and it's a tool clients can take away to use on their own.

About The Windshield Wiper Mindfulness Exercise

Tool Source: I first learned this tool from improvisation artist and educator Sue Walden (San Francisco, CA).

This mindfulness exercise is extremely easy to do, and quickly calms and grounds people. Simply use your arm as a windshield wiper, starting by moving it at the speed of your mind, then gradually slowing your "windshield wiper" arm down until you are calm.

  • When to Use: At the start of a coaching session or when your client's mind is going a million miles a minute. It's also good in a workshop setting when you want to shift the energy from high activity to thoughtful reflection.
  • Who for: Individual coaching clients, and as a group coaching, webinar or workshop activity.
  • You will need: nothing!

The Windshield Wiper Slowing Down Mindfulness Exercise

Calm Client holding arms in the air wearing red sweater

Simply walk your client through the following instructions.

TIP: Tune into your client (or group participants) as you do this to get a feel for timing.

1) Share what to expect with your client/attendees

Introduce the idea of the exercise by saying something like:

  • We're going to imagine that your arm—from the elbow to the tip of your fingers is a windshield wiper.
  • You'll be moving your arm from right to left, right to left as if it were cleaning your windshield.
  • Okay, are you ready to begin?...Great.

2) Ask your clients to use their arms as a Windshield Wiper

Next we're going to start the exercise. Say something like:

  • Let's begin by moving your arm / "windshield wiper" at a speed that matches the current speed of your mind.
  • So if your mind is in overdrive—your windshield wiper will be moving very fast...
  • Keep moving your windshield wiper at that speed. And as you do, align internally and feel that speed throughout your body.
  • ...Got it? ...Great.

3) Ask your clients to slow down their Windshield Wiper arm

  • Now cut the speed in half...
  • Yes, that's it...
  • Begin to feel into that speed, notice how that feels in your body...
  • Good...

4) Ask your clients to slow their Windshield Wiper arm down some more

  • Now cut the speed in half again...
  • Align yourself with this speed, feel it in and throughout your body...

5) And again...

  • Now cut the speed in half again.
  • Take a deep breath as you become aligned with that speed.
  • Feel it in your body. Feel it in your breathing…

5) And (if needed) again...

  • If needed, cut your speed in half one more time...
  • Yes... Notice what that feels like…
  • Notice your breathing.

6) Now let them know they can turn off their Windshield Wiper and rest their arm

  • OK, now you can turn off your trusty windshield wiper and rest your arm.

7) What do they feel now?

End the exercise by asking your client/s to notice how they feel now. Say something like:

  • How do you feel now?
  • What feels different after completing this exercise? How?
  • What other shifts or changes can you notice?

Optional Exercise Debrief

You could wrap-up this exercise by asking some powerful questions to deepen the experience and help them take their learnings forward. Some example questions could include:

  • What was your biggest learning from this exercise?
  • What surprises were there for you?
  • How and when could you see yourself using this technique?
  • What change do you feel inspired to make after this exercise?

© 2022 Marcy Nelson-Garrison

Editor's Note: This calming, yet simple exercise is powerful! Imagine doing it with your children, with a volunteer group or class of students, sharing it with friends or even in the workplace! And of course you can also use it in a webinar or workshop.

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Contributing Author:

Marcy Nelson-Garrison is a transformational product mentor, certified professional co-active coach, visual artist and the founder of the Coaching Toys online store. Coaching since 1999, Marcy has a passion for applying creative processes to personal development. She is the Author of Creating Aha Moments, Creative Right-Brain Coaching Exercises for Individual, Group and Team Breakthroughs, The card deck: Q? Basics, Open-Ended Questions For Coaching Mastery and the popular Card Deck Master Class. You can sign-up for Marcy's newsletter and download the eBooks Creating Aha Moments and 10 Ways To Profit From Creating a Card Deck free here >>

Learn more about Marcy & see all their articles here >>

Image of Calm Client holding arms in the air wearing red sweater by krakenimages via Shutterstock

Image of Windshield Wiper on Wet Windscreen by New Africa via Shutterstock


  1. Yuvakumar

    Great tool Marcy and thanks Emma for selflessly offering to us.(As usual). Simple yet highly grounding and impactful to create a calming and unperturbed condition.


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