HOW ARE YOU? Really, how are YOU? I love this simple yet deeply caring question. It shows when someone really wants to know and understand how you are feeling. It’s a common greeting, often habitual with a habitual response. Sometimes we get stuck in autopilot and forget to ask ourselves how WE are doing. Truly ask yourself, how are you doing, right now, in this moment? When you ask yourself, you are checking in, taking a moment to care, and to listen within. Recently, I was checking my packing list for a trip, and then I was checking in online for my flight and then again at the airport. We are constantly checking in with other activities and tasks but we may overlook ourselves! Do you check in with yourself and assess your internal galaxy of information from emotions, to thoughts, to how you physically feel? Take care of YOU in a moment, a minute, five minutes or 10+ minutes with this check in list:
1. If you have just one moment: recognize a joyful feeling, take a breath to feel life running through you, offer unexpected kindness, flash a smile, glance out the window to see the beauty of nature, appreciate the love that surrounds you, be present. Or if you are caught in a heated moment, check in and ask: what would love do? How can I choose to move through this calmly and with awareness? Practice choosing peace, choosing love.
2. In one minute: GRATITUDE (my favorite). Say or write one thing you are grateful for and why. If you’re inspired, keep going! Write as many as you wish. I write at least three a day, everyday, or sometimes if I’m on a roll I’ll fill up five pages!! Being grateful magnifies a positive attitude, creates an essence of connection, and brings us back to what’s really important. Your day will shift, I promise you. Losing one of my best friends in a car accident two years ago reminded me that life is here, now, to be lived because we don’t know when our time is up… be thankful, for this moment, for this life, and this chance to share love.
3. For five minutes: Take a time out. Hit the pause button and slow down for quiet time or meditation. I have experienced and believe when we slow down we actually have the potential to speed up. It’s an oxymoron but true! I feel more efficient because it brings a sense of flow to my day. When life is happening at what seems like warp speed, our decisions may become tainted with inefficiency due to our frantic-ness. Believe me, I jam as much fun and work in as possible and overbook myself too! It’s life!! But there is magic in slowing down otherwise we’re going against the current and we end up exhausted.
4. For 10-30+ minutes: Get moving! Add action into your day, and make an effort to do some form of exercise daily. As a physical therapist and as a human, I have to move daily. It makes me feel alive! It gets the blood flowing for a healthy heart and happy mind, plus when you are done, the feeling of accomplishment is powerful! I move to check in and sometimes to even check out to get out of my head and be present with myself whether it’s restorative yoga, my physical therapy routine, hiking, or surfing etc. Have fun moving!
When there are chaotic obstacles, surprising roadblocks, and unpredicted traffic jams of life, take a deep breath, think of one thing you are grateful for and move onward. Be mindful to check in and ask yourself, “How are you?” And when you ask someone else, reciprocate the same care, concern and love. Listen, and love yourself and others deeper when you ask this question.