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How many times have you walked into a room with your body but left your mind elsewhere? 

Perhaps you were heading into a meeting with colleagues but still thinking about a difficult conversation with your partner; or maybe as you were sitting down to dinner with family, your mind was racing with worry. Our minds have the ability to think and plan for the future and also, reminisce and review what has happened in the past. This ability serves us in many ways, but it can also hijack us from staying fully present in the moment.

Take Five. Anywhere. Anytime.

De-stress with a simple breathing practice.

Moments of transition present us with an opportunity to pause and arrive to the moment right in front of us. TAKE FIVE is a quick grounding practice, to do just that. Simply take five breaths to connect the body and mind together, notice how you feel and set an intention to experience what is happening in the moment. About to sit down to dinner? Taking five breaths can open your heart to set the intention to listen and laugh. Preparing for an important meeting? Taking five breaths can give you a little space to focus on what you want to communicate.

Have little ones at home that are struggling to regulate their feelings? Try TAKE FIVE. It can become a counting game that you can do together as a tool to help them when their world has turned upside down.

Take Five Anytime Anywhere

Need proof? Try these suggestions.

  • Next time you are getting ready to meet your friends online, pause to TAKE FIVE and notice what is present for you. Is there something you want to share that makes you feel anxious? Invite your friends to explore this practice with you by doing TAKE FIVE together or by playing this recording.
  • Heading to the grocery store? Give yourself space to take 5 slow breaths before walking into the store. Notice your surroundings, both inner and outer and acknowledge that whatever you are feeling is OK.
  • Preparing for your nighttime routine? Create space between your daytime busyness and your evening plans with TAKE FIVE. It’s both a calming and restorative practice. Just sit at the edge of your bed with one hand on your lap, and your palm facing up. Each time you take a full cycle of breath, fold one finger down. Once all 5 fingers are folded, take a moment to notice how you feel. The stage is now set for you to enjoy your downtime.

Sprinkle your day with TAKE FIVE and get in touch with your feelings.

Over time, checking in with yourself throughout the day with TAKE FIVE breathing practice can help build compassionate understanding of the ups and downs of daily life. It's okay to feel anxious, sad, angry, happy, neutral or lonely. The better able you are at identifying what you are feeling in any given moment, the better able you will be at taking care of yourself, no matter what shows up.

This post was originally published on the Mindfulness Without Borders blog.

By Leah Gardiner, Executive Director & Lead Trainer at Mindfulness Without Borders – a charitable organization that facilitates programs and workshops to strengthen social and emotional intelligence and secular mindfulness in youth and the adults that surround them.

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