Harnessing the Power of a Mindful Check-In
Mindfulness has been shown to have a profound impact on one's overall physical and mental health. It has been found to reduce anxiety and depression, lower blood pressure, and reduce chronic pain. I define mindfulness as being in the present moment. To be mindfully aware of one's self is to be attune to one's thoughts, feelings, and physiological sensations.
As a therapist and practitioner of both Internal Family Systems Therapy and Mindfulness, I have found that the two concepts go hand-in-hand. The Mindful Check-In, as I call it, is a great technique for slowing yourself down in a triggering situation by mindfully touching base with the many parts that are in your internal system. This allows you to touch base with possibly activated parts in your system, so that they can feel heard, ultimately regulating (or calming down) your system.
How to engage in a Mindful Check-In:
1) Find a quiet spot (if you are able to).
2) Close your eyes (optional)
3) Take a few deep breaths.
4) As you're breathing, begin to notice the physiological sensations of your inhalation and exhalation.
5) Invite yourself inward to notice any physical sensations that may arise.
6) Invite any activated parts in your system to gather around for a brief check-in (i.e. an overwhelmed part, an angry part, a scared child part, etc.).
7) One at a time, check-in with each part that arises--"How are you feeling? What would you like to say? What are your concerns?"
8) Provide some compassion to each part by acknowledging their feelings and concerns.
9) Explore with each part what they may need from you at the present moment to get through your current triggering situation.
10) Once you have checked in with each part. Thank them for meeting with you.
11) Take some breaths, then open your eyes.