Checking-In With Yourself
To explain the concept of “checking-in” with oneself, I will answer the Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why questions but not in that order.
What Does Checking-In Mean?
Part of living in a mindful way includes paying attention to the present. “What are you experiencing right now?” It means not thinking about the past and future but keeping your mind in the present.
One of the ways of being mindful, for example, is paying attention to your breath. Your breath is happening right at this moment so by thinking or counting your breaths, you are keeping your mind and thoughts in the present.
How Do You Check-In?
Checking-in is another way to stay mindful throughout the day. It involves paying attention to your emotional state by asking yourself, “How am I feeling right now?” It also involves being aware of how your emotions are showing up in your body. “Do you have tension or tightness anywhere?” “Are your shoulders relaxed?”
Our bodies give us indicators of stress, worry, anger, fear, sorrow, happiness, excitement, and so on. Our thoughts and experiences change throughout the day which influence how we feel. Checking-in helps us to stay ahead of our emotions and manage them before they escalate or get the better of us.
Who Needs to Check-In?
Everyone. Think about words that are spoken in anger or before you have had time to think. You may have made a rash decision and later wished you could change your mind. Sometimes we make commitments that we really don’t want to make. Sometimes we just find ourselves feeling sad and wonder what happened since we woke up happy.
When Is a Good Time to Check-In?
It is always a good time to check-in with yourself. I like to check-in several times during the day and as a reminder, I use an activity that I do often. I take my dog outside four times a day and as I am walking outside, I ask myself, “How are you feeling? What is going through your mind right now? Do you feel any tension in your body?”
Where Can You Check-In?
Anywhere. No one has to know you are “checking-in” with yourself. Depending on the activity you want to link with your check-ins, you may be in a number of places. For me, I am taking my dog outside, so I am usually walking in the hallway to head outdoors. Other activities could be using the restroom, eating meals, or something with work.
Check-in with yourself right now. “How are you feeling? What is on your mind? Notice how your body feels? Are your shoulders relaxed?”
After you have answered these questions, ask yourself “Why?”
If you have the time, this is a great opportunity to journal your thoughts. If not, just notice what you are feeling. For example, if you are feeling agitated, think about why. Recognizing where this feeling originated will help you to respond and manage the cause.
Your days will feel calmer with daily check-ins. Like any change we make in our lives, it takes practice to build a new habit, but this one is worth the effort.