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Self-Care Tip: SIFTing

Today’s self-care tip is a mindfulness-based activity called SIFTing.* This is an acronym that stands for: Sensing, Images, Feeling, Thoughts. Find a comfortable place to sit and, if you feel comfortable doing so, close your eyes. If you can, place your feet on the ground and your back straight but relaxed.

  • Once your eyes are closed, think about what you are sensing in your body. You may feel the chair you are sitting in or the cool air-conditioned air. Or maybe you can even sense your heart beating.

  • And now, what images come up in your mind’s eyes? This can be hard to put into words but just try to become aware of your imagination taking shape. It could be based on memories or on hope for the future.

  • Next, what feelings are inside of you? Try to put a name to the feelings. If that is not possible, just bring awareness to the emotions or even the physical sensations connected to them.

  • Lastly, what thoughts are passing through your mind? Are you thinking about something that happened earlier today? Something you need to do later?

When you are finished, open your eyes. What was that experience like? For some people, it might have been relaxing. For others, it could have been stressful. There’s no right way to feel while doing this exercise! Whatever comes up for you is what comes up for you.

One thing that happens when you do SIFTing is that you are strengthening your ability to bring awareness to your inner life and your emotional intelligence. These are skills that help you respond to complex challenges.


*Adapted from Siegel, Daniel J. Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain.

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