"How Are You: A Simple Technique for Tuning In" by Casey Onder, PhD

Summary: Even regular mindfulness practitioners can struggle to tune in amidst the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. Plug into your inner zen with a quick but powerful self-check.




I have done a fair share of yoga and meditation in my time, and I will be the first to admit that tapping into the present moment when I’m knee deep in to do’s and riding the emotional rollercoaster of entrepreneurship can be a big challenge.

Meditation is a bit like high altitude athletic training, where you stretch your skills and capacity to the max in a specific environment, whereas day-to-day life represents a stroll (or a harried pushing and shoving) through the market stalls and crowds below.


You have the natural capacity to be mindful anytime, anyplace, but sometimes we need a little extra support or intention to apply this skill to new situations.


To cultivate more inner zen throughout the day, IN your day (no lotus pose, yoga mat, or 15 minute break required) try this simple quick check: One to three times each day, ask yourself, with genuine curiosity, “How am I?”


How are you in that moment – physically, mentally, emotionally, or energy-wise? You can try it now. There’s no need to analyze it. Keep it simple. What is the experience/sensation that most stands out? It might be subtle, but you might just be surprised by its obviousness when a moment earlier you were completely unaware.


To implement this regularly, try using a specific cue (e.g., beginning and end of meetings) or a technology-based alert to remind yourself. The cue can also be a particular emotion or type of situation. For example during a difficult or unpleasant encounter you might notice you’re clenching your fists or feeling a lump in your throat.


Unless you’re on a traditional Vipassana retreat, mindfulness will not be meditating in lotus pose for 8 hours a day. Remember that while mindfulness focuses on our being, it’s not incongruent with doing. It’s how we are in the doing that is key.


Check out the full article for additional techniques easily integrated into your 9-to-5s – or 9-to-9s – and any and all the things you do day to day.



Casey Onder, PhD is a business psychologist and work life coach dedicated to helping professionals find greater meaning and fulfillment in their work. Her signature coaching program in 2019 helps clients retool careers that have failed to deliver on initial hopes and expectations. She draws on principles and practices of mindfulness regularly in life and work. This article was inspired by Gil Fronsdal’s teachings at Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California.

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