Mindful Healthcare #4: The Most Important “Check In”

Even though I am fairly introspective guy, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t squander my attention way too often. Now, I don’t officially “check-in” on Facebook (e.g. “Look where I am eating lunch!), but I’m definitely guilty of mindlessly scrolling my news feed hoping to find, well I have no idea. Like a said, it is a mindless activity. And of course Facebook is just the beginning, there is email, sports, news etc.

I know this is a common addiction (yes, it is an addiction) because not a day goes by when I don’t see countless others doing the same thing. In moments when I’m not consumed by phone and I notice others falling into the all too familiar trap, I sometimes half-jokingly ask, “anything good?”

The answer is always a resounding “No.”

The fact that we intuitively “know” we won’t be fulfilled through our screens, but we do it anyway, is a clear indication of what an addiction social media (and especially “reality TV”) has become in our culture.

The reason may not be immediately apparent, but if we dig a little bit deeper (i.e. actually start checking in with ourselves), the root cause of our behavior becomes undeniably obvious.

We are trying to distract ourselves from our busy (mostly negative) minds, and looking elsewhere does (like a drug) temporarily numb the pain. The problem of course is that it “works” in the short-term, so we don’t often notice the long-term effect, which is becoming dependent on external gratification.

Even though we intuitively know peace comes from within, we look outside of ourselves.

As I’ve learned from Dr. Joe Dispenza and many other teachers, we only want what we want (e.g. social media) because we think it’s going to make us feel a certain way. But it’s a fallacy; the feeling already (and only) exists inside.

Just the other day a client said, “I was in a really bad mood this morning and I saw this cute dog that made me feel better.” I replied, “the dog didn’t make you feel better – it was your attention to the dog. If you weren’t giving the dog your full attention, you wouldn’t have experienced a shift in your mood.”

Again, the feeling is inside.

Recently I thought to myself, what if I “Checked-In” with myself even a fraction of the times I checked my phone? What if I started listening to my body, instead of reading my news-feed?

When I am truly paying attention, the message from my body is crystal clear – “Hey, just stay with me. Sense the stillness & peace that exists right here. You don’t need to see what’s happening on Facebook to distract yourself from anything right now.”

The “trick” is that we have to get comfortable allowing the negative thoughts/emotions to run their course (instead of numbing them out) to be able to sense the peace that already exists. Like riding a bike, it’s a skill that can be learned.

I can tell you from both personal and professional experience that it is well worth the effort.

Here’s the challenge today. Instead of checking your phone with each impulse, see how many times you can check in with yourself instead.

You can accomplish this by focusing on your breathing, feeling the energy in your body, whatever works for you. Try it out and take notice of how you feel in your brain and body.

Initially, you may notice your body REALLY craving the familiar, but if you can allow it to be, I’m betting you will be pleasantly surprised at what you experience.

Please leave a comment and let me know how you’re doing with the Check-In Challenge.

Talk to you again soon.


p.s. If you’d like a practical guide to making this a regular part of your life, I’d highly recommend checking out The Clinical Success Formula. It’s a practical guide that can make your journey considerably easier

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