Mindful Check-In To Hit The Pause Button

Mindfulness can be practiced in two ways: formally and informally. Formal practice involves sitting in a quiet place and having a structured time of mindfulness, for example, a guided meditation. Informal practices are mindfulness techniques you can use in any moment to reconnect with your self-awareness. Explore ways of mindfully checking-in with yourself any time throughout the day.
Jason Murphy is a Buddhist teacher and therapist (LMFT) specialized in Trauma Resolution Therapy & Mindfulness Addiction Counseling.
mindful check in
Jason Murphy is a Buddhist teacher and therapist (LMFT) specialized in Trauma Resolution Therapy & Mindfulness Addiction Counseling.

In our fast-paced lives, mindfulness check-ins serve as calming anchors, offering brief moments to pause, breathe, and connect with the present — reducing stress and enhancing awareness. These simple practices ground us, moving us beyond daily routine to appreciate life’s current beauty and emotions. These check-in practices not only improve wellness but also remind us that we can try to find peace amidst chaos.

​​Key takeaways:

  • Mindfulness check-ins are a simple yet profound tool for enhancing presence and reducing stress in our daily lives.
  • Regularly practicing mindfulness check-ins can significantly improve mental well-being, fostering a deeper connection to the present.
  • Integrating mindfulness into daily routines is easier than you might think, with practical tips to help you get started.
  • Insight Timer offers a wealth of resources to support your mindfulness journey, from beginner guides to advanced practices.

Start exploring mindfulness with Insight Timer today to see benefits in your daily routine and overall well-being.

What is a mindfulness check-in?

Mindfulness check-ins gently prompt us to take a pause and immerse ourselves in the now — we take a moment to breathe and observe without judgment. These check-ins nurture self-compassion and transform daily life, anchoring us in our way to greater well-being.

A simple mindfulness check-in technique

A mindfulness check-in doesn’t need to be grand to be transformative. A simple check-in offers a gateway to enhanced self-awareness and wellness. Here’s a step-by-step guide to a simple self-care check-in:

  1. Find a quiet space.
  2. Take deep breaths.
  3. Acknowledge your feelings.
  4. Notice physical sensations.
  5. Observe your thoughts.
  6. Express gratitude. 
  7. Set an intention.

Need a starting point or want to deepen your practice? Follow this guided mindfulness check-in available on Insight Timer.

smiling woman with hands on heart and eyes closed

11 questions for an effective mindfulness check-in

These questions are designed to be starting points for a mindful moment. You can use one or all of these during any check-in to guide yourself to more presence in the now. 

  1. What is my current state of mind?
  2. How is my emotional well-being at this moment?
  3. What are the physical sensations I’m noticing right now?
  4. Are there any particular thoughts I’m aware of?
  5. What am I grateful for today?
  6. How connected do I feel to my surroundings?
  7. In what areas do I feel balance or imbalance?
  8. What is one thing I can let go of today?
  9. How can I be more present in my activities throughout the day?
  10. What intentions do I want to set for my day?
  11. Is there anything I need to address that I’ve been avoiding?

young woman sitting by window journaling

It can be challenging to remember these questions at any given moment. It’s ok to create regular check-ins for yourself – they don’t need to be spontaneous. You can work up to that. Also, some people find that writing out their reflections in a journal is more effective than a meditation alone. 

Try mindful journaling today: Doris Müllner has put together a 12-minute guided journaling session to help you reflect and practice mindfulness.

When should we do mindfulness practice?

Essentially, any time.

When you’re just starting out, however, it can be helpful to habit stack your mindfulness check-ins with fixed parts of your routine. That means, you attach your mindfulness practice to things you already do, like brushing teeth or pouring coffee.

Common times to practice mindfulness are:

  • Before and while eating or drinking
  • As you prepare for bed
  • While you exercise
  • While you tie your shoes or wash your hands
  • As you prepare meals or your morning coffee 

To be sure, Buddhist mindfulness strives for greater presence in all aspects of life. That can be a tall order if you are just beginning. Thankfully, there are well established practices and traditions to guide you, wherever you are in your journey. 

Guided mindfulness check-ins

Mindfulness experts on Insight Timer offer guided mindfulness meditation check-ins and provide valuable insights and guidance to enhance this self-care practice. 

These experts help you explore aspects of mindfulness, offer practical techniques to apply in your everyday life, and help you avoid burnout.

  1. Mindful Check-In Jason Murphy 10:27
  2. Grounding Breath to Open Awareness Jason Murphy 29:47
  3. Mindfulness Of The Body Jason Murphy 15:03
  4. Relax Observe Allow Jason Murphy 6:39

The benefits of mindfulness

Mindfulness isn’t just a practice — it’s a journey. It teaches us to live in the now and embrace every moment. The science is clear: 

Embracing mindfulness transforms our lives by reducing stress. 

Additionally, mindfulness improves your well-being by reducing negative symptoms and emotional reactions,  supported by research in the Clinical Psychology Review.

And the benefits don’t stop at emotional well-being. Physically, mindfulness can be a balm, improving our sleep, easing pain, and even helping our heart find its natural rhythm. Imagine the body and mind in harmony. 

In fact, research agrees that mindfulness-based interventions have broad beneficial effects on a number of conditions, including: 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Insomnia
  • Addiction
  • Psychosis
  • Pain
  • Hypertension
  • Weight control

If you’re looking for more mindfulness meditations, Insight Timer has hundreds of guided meditations that center around mindfulness.

How can I personalize my mindfulness practice?

Make mindfulness practice more enjoyable and sustainable by personalizing your practice so it works with your unique lifestyle and needs. Here’s how to tailor mindfulness check-ins to fit you perfectly:

  1. Identify your goals: Reflect on what you hope to achieve with mindfulness. 
  2. Create a mindful space: If possible, dedicate a peaceful spot for your practice. A personalized space enhances your mindfulness experience.
  3. Incorporate technology mindfully: Use apps like Insight Timer to find guided meditations and mindfulness exercises then curate your playlist.
  4. Adjust the duration: Your mindfulness practice doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Even a few mindful breathing exercises can be powerful.
  5. Reflect and adapt: Reflect on your practice and its impact on your life. It’s helpful to do a brief body scan meditation before and after your mindfulness activities.

How can I integrate mindfulness into my routine?

Integrating mindfulness into your daily routine is easy. Here are strategies to include mindfulness check-ins throughout your day:

  • Morning intentions: Start with a mindful moment in the morning to set the tone for the day. Just a minute of deep breathing or setting intentions can make a significant difference.
  • Reminders: Utilize reminders on your phone or sticky notes around your space to prompt mindfulness check-ins. 
  • Evening gratitude: End your day by reflecting on moments you’re grateful for.

Using these practices in your daily life can make mindfulness an enriching part of your routine. 

Dive deeper and uncover your best time to meditate.

Overcoming challenges in mindfulness practice

Navigating the journey of mindfulness practice can sometimes feel challenging. Start small a small, intentional break for mindful movement makes a difference. It doesn’t need to be a formal practice. 

Here are some tips for embracing daily mindfulness check-ins:

  • Begin mindfully: Start each morning with a minute of focused breathing or gratitude to set a positive tone for your day.
  • Set reminders: Use phone alerts or sticky notes as prompts for quick mindfulness pauses, helping you return to the present.
  • Add routine: Turn everyday tasks into moments of mindfulness (habit stacking).
  • Take deep breaths: Use deep breathing as a quick reset when feeling stressed focus on the sensation of air moving in and out.

smiling woman by pond

Practice mindfulness to promote mental well-being

Mindfulness check-ins are a pathway to greater mental well-being and an enhanced emotional state. They’re proven to reduce stress and promote mental well-being.

Insight Timer provides the resources you need to weave mindfulness activities seamlessly into your daily routine. 

Start your journey towards a more mindful, present life today by exploring Insight Timer’s valuable resources and embracing the 7 principles of conscious digital device usage.

Mindfulness check-in FAQ

How to do a mindful check-in?

A mindful check-in is a brief meditation practice focusing on the present moment. Find a comfortable position, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. 

What are the benefits of mindful check-In?

Mindful check-ins reduce stress, increase self-awareness, and improve emotional regulation. They help you pause, reflect on your current state, and reconnect with the present moment, making it easier to manage daily challenges.

What are the 5 levels of mindfulness?

The five levels of mindfulness begin with the Beginner’s Mind, where one approaches mindfulness practices with an openness and eagerness to learn, free from preconceptions. This is followed by Non-judgment, observing experiences without labeling them as good or bad. The third level, Acknowledgment, involves recognizing and accepting feelings and thoughts as they are. Non-attachment teaches letting go of the need to control or cling to these experiences. Lastly, Compassion emphasizes understanding and kindness towards oneself and others during the mindfulness journey.

What are the 4 Ts of mindfulness?

The 4 Ts of mindfulness are Time, Turn, Tune in, and Take note. Time is about dedicating specific moments for mindfulness practices. Turn refers to the conscious decision to shift focus towards mindfulness and away from distractions. Tune in suggests actively paying attention to one’s inner experiences and the surrounding environment. Take note is the practice of observing thoughts and feelings without getting attached to them, allowing for a deeper understanding of the self.

How can you cultivate self-awareness in your daily life?

Practicing mindfulness, keeping a journal, setting intentions, and reflecting on your actions and decisions are effective ways to cultivate self-awareness. 

What are some simple mindfulness check-in exercises I can do at work to reduce stress?

  • Two-minute breathing: Take a short break to focus solely on your breath.
  • Desk stretches: Combine gentle stretching with mindful breathing.
  • Gratitude moment: Reflect on something you’re grateful for at work.

What are some simple mindfulness exercises for a quick mental refresh during the workday?

For a quick mental refresh during the workday, a sensory check-in is an effective method:

  • notice five things you can see, 
  • four you can touch, 
  • three you can hear, 
  • two you can smell,
  • one you can taste, 

This grounds you in the present moment. 

Another exercise is mindful observation, where you choose an object and observe it as if you are seeing it for the first time, fostering a deep focus and appreciation for the details that often go unnoticed.

What are some mindfulness check-in exercises to start a meeting?

To start a meeting on a mindful note, you can incorporate exercises such as group breathing, where everyone takes a moment to synchronize their breathing — this creates a collective sense of calm and focus. Intention setting allows each participant to share their goal for the meeting, fostering a purpose-driven atmosphere. Gratitude sharing involves each person expressing something they are thankful for, enhancing a positive and appreciative environment from the outset.


American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Mindfulness Meditation: A Research-Proven Way to Reduce Stress. American Psychological Association. Retrieved March 21, 2024, from www.apa.org/topics/mindfulness/meditation

Clark, D., Schumann, F., & Mostofsky, S. H. (2015). Mindful movement and skilled attention. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00297

Keng, S. L., Smoski, M. J., & Robins, C. J. (2011). Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological health: a Review of Empirical Studies. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(6), 1041–1056. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2011.04.006

Khoury, B., Lecomte, T., Fortin, G., Massé, M., Thérien, P., Bouchard, V., Chapleau, M., Paquin, K., & Hofmann, S. (2013). Mindfulness-based therapy: A comprehensive meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 33(6), 763–771. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2013.05.005 

‌Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress. (2023, December 14). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858 

‌Yazdani, M., Esmaeilzadeh, M., Pahlavanzadeh, S., & Khaledi, F. (2014). The effect of laughter Yoga on general health among nursing students. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 19(1), 36–40. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3917183/

Meditation. Free.