I often work in groups that begin each meeting by "checking in," i.e. having each member talk briefly about how they're feeling, or what they're thinking about, or what they hope to accomplish that day.
I find value in this process, but up until now I've looked at it primarily from perspective of the speaker. From this point of view, the purpose of checking in is that each member of the group gets a chance to speak their piece, and the total of what's said sets a tone for the meeting that reflects everyone's state of mind.
I've recently come to feel that this process is equally (if not more) important from the perspective of the listeners. From this point of view, the purpose of checking in isn't so much that it gives everyone a chance to speak, but that it also compels everyone to listen carefully to everyone else, right at the outset. This gets the group in a listening mode and sets a tone for the meeting that makes subsequent discussions more productive and less stressful.