There’s a quick little exercise my wife does with the kids she works with that I think can be helpful for adults as well. It’s called: “How is Your Engine Running?”
Tune into Your Body
The idea behind the exercise is to help us get more in tune with our body and how we are feeling. Often as adults we are disconnected from our body. We aren’t in tune with whether or not we are hungry, thirsty, full, tired, wound up, etc. If we aren’t in tune with our body, then we aren’t able to meet our needs. We might overeat even though we are full, for example. Or we might not give our body the rest it needs.
The exercise “How is Your Engine Running?” can help us check in with our body and figure out what we need. It’s super simple and easy.
Check in With Yourself
First, check in with yourself. Press the pause button. This first step is important. A lot of times we are on autopilot, rushing through our day. It’s important to take some time to reflect on how our bodies are feeling.
Second, pick one of the colors on the graphic that corresponds to how you are feeling. If you are feeling blue, your body is going slow. You might feel sluggish or tired. Your body might need rest, or you might need to do something to get yourself going again.
If you are feeling red, your body is going fast. You might feel anxious, energetic, or jumpy. Your body might need to move or exercise, or you might need to implement some relaxation strategies in order to calm down.
If you are feeling green, your body is just right. You have an appropriate level of energy for the task at hand. You’re energetic, but able to focus and accomplish what you need to get done.
Different States for Different Tasks
Importantly, none of the states are “good” or “bad.” They’re just different. Different states are more or less appropriate for accomplishing certain tasks. Depending on what you need to do, you could choose to stay in the state you are in, or do something to shift your state.
Self-Awareness is Key
Even if you don’t try to change your state, one of the big benefits of doing this exercise regularly is to help you get more in tune with your body. Remember, if you aren’t in tune with your body, you will have trouble getting your needs met. Self-awareness is an important first step.