Take 5 for 5: A Mindfulness Exercise

By: Coach Julie Hartman

As the Lead Mindfulness and Mindset Specialist for Empower The Learner, it’s my job to share insights and methods to foster mindful awareness and a growth mindset. I’m excited to share a simple mindfulness exercise that is appropriate for all ages and experience levels. It’s my adaptation of a very popular mindful activity called ‘five senses’. The best part, this activity is simple and takes just 5 minutes or less. It’s a wonderful, interactive way to cultivate mindfulness and present moment awareness through the use of the five senses. 

Simply follow the steps outlined below.  If you are doing this exercise with someone else, it’s fun to share your answers with one another.

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  • Notice five things that you can see

Look around and bring your visual focus on five different objects around you. Take a moment to notice details of each. What size and shape are they? What colors do you see? If you are someplace familiar, do you see a new detail you didn’t notice before?

  • Notice four things that you can feel.

What are four things you can physically touch? What does the surface beneath you feel like? What is the texture of your clothing? How does the weight and shape of your phone feel in your hand?

  • Notice three things that you can hear.

Pause and allow your focus to turn to the noises around you. What sound is loudest? Take a relaxed breath in and out, and listen even more closely. What else do you hear underneath that which is loudest? Can you hear birds chirping? Is there a clock ticking? Can you hear your computer fan or perhaps an air conditioner humming softly? Do you hear traffic on a nearby highway? 

  • Notice two things you can smell.

Take a deep breath in through your nose. Can you smell coffee nearby? If you’re outside, can you smell freshly cut grass or flowers? Can you smell your cologne? Where I live the lilacs are blooming so the air is filled with their wonderful fragrance! 

  • Notice one thing you can taste.

Sip a drink or have a bite of a delicious snack. Maybe close your eyes and see if the flavor develops more if you hold the liquid or bite in your mouth rather than swallowing right away. Is it salty? Is it sweet? Is it hot or cold? What is the texture? 

This mindfulness activity is particularly fun to do with others, especially kids. They’re naturally curious and enjoy talking about what they are discovering with each of their senses.

Our lives can become one continuous motion of to-do lists and deadlines to meet. Mindful exercises offer the opportunity to slow down and savor the present moment. For me, I want to notice a smile or a loving glance. I want to savor my food, my travels, and my conversations, rather than be on auto-pilot and miss their wonderful details. I want to be intentional with my focus and attention so I can have an appreciation for the beauty of life and my progress along the way. 

My colleagues and I chose to focus on the subjects of confidence, competence, and motivation in our recent workshops and blogs. We recognize that these are subjects that many of our clients inquire about and have a strong desire to improve upon.  I encourage you to read Kathleen McClaskey’s article Motivation In Learning and Why It Matters and Hillary Gothwait-Fowles article Confidence In AT Is As Easy As A.B.C.  These articles provide valuable insights and knowledge into the development of agency, executive functioning, and self-advocacy for learners of all ages, so be sure to check them out and let us know your comments or questions. We’re here to help.


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