Are You Taking Care of Your Feelings? 5 Steps You Need to Take Now

By Reniel

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Last Updated: September 2, 2021

There are many people who treat themselves as objects, and they suffer because of that.

But you and I know better.

We take care of ourselves.

Cars have check engine lights. Planes have sophisticated alarms and lights that go off when something is wrong. And so also our bodies react and send cues to inform us that something is wrong. There are headaches, dizziness, and so on.

We are indeed complex pieces of machinery. 

When you present humans as such – i.e. as machines – what comes to mind is muscles, bones, and tissues. If you think that, you are not wrong. Indeed, our bodies are intricately designed – with organs and pulses, synched to rhythms and vibrations we do not yet understand ourselves.

But there is an even more sophisticated piece of hardware that we possess; it is the brain.

 

Our Minds, Our Brains

The brain, as much as we can tell, is the organ that houses our mind.

While most people who are health conscious would instinctively check in on their physical health, they may rarely stop to consider what's going on within the dark caverns of their skull. They do not consider what goes on in their minds; they do not consider their thoughts and feelings.

At first glance, it is almost too easy – in fact tempting – to overlook our thoughts and feelings. Because they do not bleed, tear or ache like our tissues, muscles, and bones...they are not physical. Yet they exert the most impact on our lives.

We suffer more often in imagination than in reality. - Seneca, Roman philosopher

The fact that a lot of medical conditions have been traced to (and are rooted in) poor mental health is more than enough reason to pay closer attention to our thoughts and feelings. In case you’re wondering, some of these conditions include unexplained aches and pains, insomnia, obesity, clinical depression, etc. 

Stepping away from the realm of illnesses and diseases, the quality of life one enjoys is to a great extent tethered to how one thinks and feels.

 

We Choose to Be Unhappy 

But how can someone decide to be unhappy? Who in his/her right mind would choose to be unhappy? Who? 

 Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be. - Abraham Lincoln

The problem is not that they choose wrongly, but that not choosing is also a choice.

The quality of life we lead is greatly dependent on how much we limit the suffering in it, while increasing the enjoyment in it. If you don’t take charge of your life, it would be one horrible roller coaster.

But how do you regain control of your life and happiness if you are already in an overwhelming situation?

You accomplish it by checking in on your thoughts and feelings.

 

5 Steps To Check In With Yourself

The aim of checking in on yourself is to know exactly the people, places, and circumstances that make you feel happy (so that you can expose yourself more to those), and those that make you feel down (in order to limit your exposure to them). 

Below is a quick guide to help you keep your pulse on those thoughts and feelings.

1. Breathe

You need to slow down and take a deep breath.

Life can get very busy, with its urgencies and deadlines, but you must realize that not all that is urgent is important. Sometimes, it may just be you trying to distract yourself with work, music, or some other activity.

You need to pause and breathe. Breathing pulls you into your body. It keeps you grounded and aware of what is truly important – your wellness.

2. Observe

With all activities halted, bring your mind to observe all that is going on within you.

Apart from registering our physical health, our bodies send signals about how we are feeling; maybe you find your heart racing, your back aching, your breathing heavy, your eyes blurry, your belly tightens.

These can all be indicators of different physical and emotional states. And it is only by observing that you know when to steer clear of the activity or do more of it.

3. Meditate

Allow your emotions to flow; remain aware but unattached.

Feel the anger, fear, anxiety, passion, shame, joy, and all other emotions flow in and out of your mind. Observe how strong they were, and the thoughts and feelings that accompanied them. Meditating would help you see the things that are driving, or holding you back.

4. Inquire About Your Feelings

With your body and mind steadied; ask yourself how you really feel.

Don’t make it vague and generic. For example, don’t just ask, “Why am I feeling low?” Instead, really dig deep and ask questions as precise as,

  • “How did I feel when Tayshia told me she was not going to help me out with the project because she was busy?”
  • “How was I feeling when I sent that mail to Zachary?"
  • “Why am I so scared of telling Chris the truth?”

Asking questions like these would uncover uncomfortable truths, but realize that it is only when you know the problem, that you can effectively fix it.

5. Journal

A lot of people argue that writing down your feelings, and reading them is almost as effective as visiting a therapist (if not better). Journaling is a very underrated tool that you can use to care for your inner world of thoughts and feelings.

All that is required is that you sit down with a pen and paper and be honest with yourself.

Write down all that transpired throughout the day, and how you responded to different circumstances.

Add more details, by stating why you responded the way you did (what were your thoughts and feelings?)

 

Begin a Practice of Checking in on Your Feelings

By employing these simple practices, and turning them into daily routines and rituals, you would be able to run your life more effectively – by eliminating the unhealthy ones, whilst optimizing for the best experiences. 

Remember to be kind to yourself along the way - it won't happen all at once. Just giving yourself the gift of a promise to improve and find balance is enough. You got this. 

Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

 

 

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