I’m not talking about the kind of “how are you” many of us ask acquaintances that often gets the “fine” response. Whether it’s true or not, many of us have gotten used to relying on “how are you” as a greeting. In this case, I’m speaking of the kind of “how are you” that intends to truly ascertain the answer. In particular, this is honestly asking ourselves this question.
When was the last time you checked in with yourself?
I often write about the value of a relationship check-in but let’s look at the equal value of taking an emotional read on yourself. Our culture tends to live life in a blur and it’s only getting more…blurry! Many of us don’t know the true answer to that question at any given moment – and we can benefit from starting to do so. Taking your emotional temperature is not only a practice in mindfulness but can in time can help you to let things go more easily, know when you need to practice self-care and temper the emotional reactivity that may negatively impact others.
How are you? Really.
Being aware of your feelings (emotionally and in your body) more often can serve as a grounding point, a self check-in to live more mindfully and be more able to catch it when you’re not doing so well. I teach my therapy clients to learn this type of awareness, to stop long enough in “life” (family, work, kids, relationships, struggles) to “drop into the now” (taken from Dr. Elisha Goldstein’s book, The Now Effect). This skill practiced over time can allow a greater sense of peace to seep into daily existence.
The more you are aware of what’s going on internally, the less likely you’ll act out in ways that reflect your unknown internal state (possibly showing up as yelling at your kids or spouse or drinking more heavily than usual).
One way to do a self check-in:
Close your eyes for a minute and breathe in deeply, noticing your chest rise and fall.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How am I feeling now? (do not judge but accept)
- How does my body feel now? (do not judge but accept)
Take a deep breath in followed by a deep exhale.
Continue on with your day.
Checking in with yourself doesn’t involve a need to do something about it necessarily but be more self aware. Over time you can then practice acceptance of what is not changeable, consider ways to change what is and most importantly, know when it’s time to circle the wagons and focus on you for once.
How are you? Really.