When you’re overwhelmed or overtired you can literally lose contact with reality. Have you ever been driving or walking somewhere, and realized that you don’t have a clue where you are? This mini-meditation brings you back to the here and now — and towards balance.


  1. Notice 5 things you can see.
    Alternatively, identify 5 different shapes, or 5 different colors, or instead of focusing narrowly (as we typically do) engage your peripheral vision and take in the entire visual field. It’s also nice to deliberately focus on spaces, or the sky, or the most distant objects you can see.
  2. Then, notice 5 things you can hear.
    Pinpoint the directions from which sounds arise.
    Compare the most obvious and most subtle sounds, or the most loud and quiet.
    Appreciate different pitches, tones and timbres.
  3. Finally, notice 5 sensations.
    For example, the texture of your clothing, the padding on the chair on which you are sitting, how your feet feel in your shoes, any tension in the body, the texture of an emotion, or just an itch.

Further Options

  1. Explore smells and tastes.
  2. If you have limited time, just pick one sense.
    If you have more time do all three (or five).
    If you have 10 or 20 minutes spare start by noticing 5 things from each sense, then repeat but select just 4, then 3, then, 2, then 1.
  3. Slow down and go deeply into any sensory data.
    Move from one to another as you wish.
    Notice when you inadvertently slide back into thought.
    Notice how still and focused the mind feels when you tune into the sensory world.

You might also be interested in my article on The 5 Best Books on Meditation & Mindfulness.