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What's going on in you right now? An emotion "check-in"

Hopefully by this point, you have given thought to your resolutions/valued-directions and begun acting upon them. I drove past a local health club yesterday evening and the parking lot was packed--a sign perhaps that those who value physical health and well-being are acting on it through running, swimming, weightlifting, or biking.

Imagine for a moment that there was another person driving past that same health club. That person--as she was driving by--saw the cars in that parking lot and remembered that just 13 days ago, she had made a resolution to take her health seriously this year by working out more often. Driving by on this certain evening, she realized she hasn't stopped by the health club in well over a week. She began to feel some guilt. Then her thoughts turned to her co-worker who just announced that day he was beginning to train for a marathon. "He's already one of the most athletic persons I know," she recalled thinking at the time, "why would he possibly need to train?" Now, she started to get angry. Her hand gripped the steering wheel tightly, she pressed on the acceleration pedal with more force, and sped off. She may have left the health club buildling behind in the distance, but the feelings the health club brought up in her just hitched a free ride.

Without even realizing them at times, our emotions make themselves known. What can be helpful from time to time is to tune into what we're experiencing on an emotional level.

Here's a simple way to do this:

Maybe about 3-5 times a day, do a simple emotion "check-in." Stop for a moment, and simply ask yourself what it is you're feeling right now in whatever situation you are in. To simplify it even further, here's a list of some primary emotions.

Joy

Sadness

Pain

Anger

Fear

Guilt

Here's some examples:

"Right now, I'm driving past the health club and I feel some guilt that I haven't been able to follow-through on my resolution to work out more."

"Right now, I feel angry that my co-worker had to share with me once again his latest exercise-related accomplishment."

The purpose of this exercise isn't to change what we feel or pass judgements on ourselves, it's simply a way to make contact with the present moment. It grounds us in the here-and-now. It opens us up to accepting--rather than avoiding--what might be uncomfortable or unwanted.

Try it out today.

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