Exercises- Interoception & Affect Awareness





  1. Pick any seated position. Find a soft place to focus your gaze, or close your eyes. 
  2. Notice your breath. Follow the waves of the breath coming in and out of your body.
  3. Bring your attention to the farthest sounds you hear. 

Draw your attention to the sounds you hear closer to you, noticing both obvious sounds and more subtle ones, too. 

  1. Pay attention to your body. Notice what sounds you hear, or imaging what sounds are happening inside. That might be the sound of your breath, the subtle beat of your heart, or something else. You might not notice anything at all.
  2. Pay attention to your inner nostrils. Notice the sensation of the breath as it comes in and out. Notice the slight swirl of your breath as it comes in, works itself all the way down to your lungs, expands each and every cell, and then comes back out of your nose, gently moving across your upper lip.  

Mindfulness practices like this can help you build up the tone of the vagus nerve, and the ability to manage the rise and fall of emotions.

  1. Notice any sensations you feel inside your body right now. Scan your body head to toe. 
  2. Notice what is happening in your mind right now – is it full of thoughts, or no? Notice these things, without feeling the need to change anything. You might notice any emotions that may be present right now, whether you know why they are there or not. 
  3. Draw your awareness to any part of your body that feels grounded or rooted, like a tree in the earth, right now. Draw your whole attention to that area.
  4. Shift your attention now to a place in your body where you feel less grounded or less connected. What does that place feel like?

Draw your attention back to that place of grounding, noticing the difference between grounded and ungrounded. They both exist at the same time at this moment. 

  1. If your eyes are closed, gently open them, finding a soft place to gaze on the floor. 
  2. Allow your hands to come to the floor or what’s beneath you. Notice the texture or the temperature under your hands. 

Name it in your mind. For example, this is a hot, dirt floor.

  1. Bring your hands together, gently allowing your chin to come towards your hands. 

Think about one thing you are feeling grateful for in this moment. 

  1. Begin to rub your hands together to generate heat, and on the count of 3 place them somewhere on your body, 1…2…3…  
  2. Notice the feeling of warmth coming into your body. Check in with your breath and your feelings, notice any sensations around your heart and any changes you might observe as a result of this exercise.




Done. This exercise can be utilized at any time, alone or in a group, and can be repeated throughout the day and used as a self-soothing exercise.