Day 1: Get Grounded in the Present

Today’s Focus: Mindfulness

Can You Relate?

Let’s begin today’s practice with a quick check-in. How are you feeling? Can you relate to any of the following thoughts?
Did you check a box—or more than one?
If so, today’s mindfulness exercise is a perfect solution.

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness brings your attention to the here and now. By redirecting your thoughts to where you are in the present and how you feel, mindfulness can promote calm, relaxation, and focus.

Today’s Practice: Breathe Mindfully
and Get Grounded

We’ll begin today with some mindful breathing before
moving on to a grounding exercise.

Acknowledge Your Breath

Start by acknowledging your breath. Without trying to change anything, ask yourself:
  • Is my breathing shallow, deep, or somewhere in between?
  • Is my breathing pattern regular and even or erratic?
  • How long am I holding air in my lungs before exhaling? 
  • Am I breathing slowly or rapidly?

Follow a 4-7-8 Pattern

Now that you have a bead on how you’re breathing right now, let’s take your awareness further. A mindful breathing pattern can melt away tension.

Get in a comfortable position—ideally sitting or lying down—and blow all the air out of your lungs slowly. Now, inhale, hold, and exhale your breath in a 4-7-8 pattern. Flip the cards below for guidance.

Inhale for Four

Breathe in through your nose for four counts—expanding your belly as you breathe through your diaphragm.

Inhale for Four

Breathe in through your nose for four counts—expanding your belly as you breathe through your diaphragm.

Inhale for Four

Breathe in through your nose for four counts—expanding your belly as you breathe through your diaphragm.
Guided Breathing Aid

Want extra guidance? Breath with this graphic as many times as you’d like—noting how you feel each time you inhale, hold, and exhale.


Get Frounded

Stay in the present by bringing your awareness to the rest of your body and surroundings. A grounding practice—engaging various senses to root you in the here and now—can help. Expand the rows below for a guided walk-through.

Run your tongue over your teeth and gums, and pay attention to the taste of your mouth. If you have a snack, take a bite, and notice the texture and flavors. Here are several foods with distinct textures and flavors to engage your sense of taste:

  • Sip a refreshing, ice-cold drink or a steaming cup of tea.

  • Suck on a mint or sour hard candy.

  • Bite into something crunchy, like kale chips, carrots, celery, or trail mix.

  • Chew a piece of peppermint gum.

  • Savor a piece of dark chocolate. 

Notice the feel of the fabric of your pants, the smooth grain of your desk, or the softness of your sweater. Now, pay attention to the pressure of your feet pushing into the ground. Here are a few more ways to experience the textures around you:

  • Stand up and shift your weight fully to your feet.
  • Give yourself a neck or hand massage.
  • Trail your fingers lightly across the carpet, a piece of paper, or your keyboard.
  • Hold your coffee mug or cold water bottle in your hands.
  • Imagine in your mind the texture of items elsewhere in the room.

Focus on the smells around you. Is someone heating their lunch in the microwave? Is a pot of coffee brewing? Do you catch a whiff of someone’s cologne or perfume? Close your eyes, and take a deep breath to notice subtle smells. Here are a few more ideas for engaging your sense of smell:

  • Burn incense or light a candle.

  • Open your windows for some fresh air.

  • Try calming essential oils, like chamomile or lavender.

If you’re able, engage your sense of sight. Look around the room and study the color variations, angles, curves, and textures. Try the following:

  • Count the people or pieces of furniture around you.

  • Take a mental inventory of the colors and shapes you see.

  • Notice how the light falls in the room and the shadows it creates.

  • Look at the pictures on your desk.

  • Close your eyes and envision something rejuvenating and peaceful, like your favorite vacation spot or your bed at home.

If you can, close your eyes and fully engage your sense of hearing. What do you notice? Birds chirping, the whirring of the air conditioner, or cars driving by? Try the following:

  • Turn on calming instrumental music.

  • Hang wind chimes near an open window.

  • Add a small water feature to your desk.

Tip: You can also press “play” and listen to this calming nature soundtrack as you engage your hearing.

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