You know that automatic social greeting where you run into someone you know and you exchange hello’s, ask how the other is doing and blindly answer “good, how are you?”
How many times are you really just “good?”
More important question…
If you were expected to give a real answer to how you were feeling,
would you know what to say?
Do you know how to access that authentic space inside you where you can accurately gauge your current mood, thoughts, or opinions? How often do you check in with yourself? How long do you give yourself to process how you’re feeling and how do you internally respond to your own emotions?
With work, social, and familial obligations, not to mention our current social, political, and economic climates, it’s no wonder we often don’t have the time, patience, and or interest in personally checking in. I mean, what does that even look like?
Too often it feels like we are some version of The Looney Tunes’ Tazmanian Devil, going quickly from activity to activity without stopping. Any lag time is often spent looking to our phones so as not to be stuck in a dreaded moment of….nothingness… boredom…time to think. Before the advent of smartphones, we had so much time to think! And probably also time to check in with ourselves.
Why Checking In Is Important
Giving ourselves the opportunity to pause, evaluate how we feel, name our triggers, and problem solve ways to proceed can help us from overreacting to others or mindlessly coping in unhealthy ways. Sometimes just naming how we feel can ease the pressure difficult feelings can create.
Alternatively, allowing ourselves moments of reflection to appreciate feeling positive feelings can help us to experience these emotions more mindfully and ensure that we continue to put ourselves in situations which lead to those positive feelings.
Finding The Time
In order to have the ability to access that intuitive space where we can answer for ourselves the question “How am I,” we need to adopt a regular practice of checking in. What that looks like can vary widely from person to person based on how much time an individual has as well as their motivation level. Whenever we are thinking of starting something new, Its important to accurately assess how motivated we are to following through, otherwise we run the risk of setting ourselves up for failure. Maybe we are extremely motivated towards cultivating greater self-awareness and ability to self-reflect, but only have a small amount of time in our schedule to commit to it. So, we might only be able to check in with ourselves for 10 minutes once a week at first. However, if its really something we are motivated towards implementing into our lives, we often figure out ways to make the time.
“Your soul needs time for solitude and self-reflection. In order to love, lead, heal and create you must nourish yourself first.” Linda Joy
Here are 5 ways to check in:
1. Set a timer on your phone or go old school and tie a string around your finger to remind yourself to stop what you’re doing at least once a day (but ideally much more) and literally ask yourself: “How am I feeling emotionally, mentally, and physically? What just happened? If you find you are feeling less than ideal, think “what can I do or say to myself to turn this negative feeling around?”
2. Meditate in a quiet space for 10 minutes, breathing slowly and deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. After 10 minutes, take note of how your body, mind, and emotions feel.
3. Create a painting or drawing using different colors and symbols representing your current mood.
5. When you are with other people, take a moment to observe the energy around you. How are you feeling? If you notice yourself feeling frustrated, sad, anxious, evaluate whether those are your authentic feelings, or whether you are picking up on another person’s mood/energy? Imagine yourself in a protective bubble. Visualize their energy being unable to enter your bubble, your space. Feel the difference in your mood when you put a boundary between yours and another person’s mood/energy.
September Adult Art Therapy Group
This September, at Create Space Buffalo, we will be exploring this topic of self-reflection. Slowing down, finding ways to be more present, accepting of our feelings, experiences, thoughts, and opinions is important for minimizing stress, avoiding burnout, and living happy and successful personal and professional lives. Each week, a new method of self-reflection will be introduced and each week, participants will have the opportunity to explore feelings, thoughts, and experiences resulting from the use of that method of self-reflection through the creation of art and group discussion.
To join us, please visit our Group Registration Page on our website
And please reach out with any questions.
See you at the studio!
Anna and Katie