The mindful check-in is a brief three- to five-minute formal practice of moving attention away from whatever outer demands and experiences you may be facing and getting fully in touch with your internal experience in the moment.
Think of it as taking a scan of the internal weather you’re experiencing: noticing physical sensations, your state of mind, and any emotions that are present. These three realms—physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions—provide a direct connection to your lived experience and are a resource that’s constantly available during your mindfulness practice.
As best you can, do this practice in a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed or distracted. This might mean closing your office door, turning off your phone, or pausing in your car in the driveway when you get home from work.
You can do this practice either lying down or sitting. If sitting, aim for a posture that’s supported, balanced, and upright but not rigid. Close your eyes if you are comfortable doing so, but it’s also fine to simply lower and soften your gaze.
Read through the entire script first to familiarize yourself with the practice, then do the meditation, referring back to the text as needed and taking three to five minutes for the practice.
A Mindfulness Exercise to Relieve Anxiety
Take a moment to appreciate yourself for giving yourself the time and space to do this practice. Amidst the hustle of our daily demands, it’s rare for people to consciously and deliberately set aside even a few minutes to just see how they are.
Most people are more apt to do this for a close friend, their children, or their partner. Turning this generosity toward yourself warrants some acknowledgment and recognition. With this small gesture, you’re exercising a shift: resisting the tendency to just move along and instead making time and space to take care of yourself. You’re making and honoring an intention to see what’s really within you.
Now bring your full attention to the experiences of your body, your mind, and any thoughts or emotions that you’re aware of, just as you are. There’s no need to judge, analyze, evaluate, or assess your experience.
The focus here is simply being with yourself fully, in the present moment, without getting caught up in mental or emotional preoccupations.
If a tendency to judge or figure things out arises, simply notice that then gently return to a friendly awareness of how you are. Continue directing your attention to the experiences of your body, mind, and emotions for about three minutes.
As your practice comes to a close, once again acknowledge your willingness to show up and be present to yourself and for yourself, knowing that in this way, you're contributing to your wholeness and well-being.
From A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook for Anxiety. Reprinted with permission: New Harbinger Publications, Inc. Copyright © 2014 Bob Stahl, Florence Meleo-Meyer, Lynn Koerbel