How ya doin’?
We ask this and its variations, How are you? How have you been? Wassup? a lot.
Most of our greetings include a question about the other person’s wellbeing.
It would be great if at each encounter with another we became truly aware of how we are feeling. Alas, “How are you?” is seldom a tiny assessment of our current mental health. We do not use these opportunities for such. Instead we answer with robotic “Fine”, “Can’t complain”, “Good. You?”
“How are you?” is a question we could really use as technology overload often numbs us to our current mood…a mood often set by the technology-use itself.
Becoming aware of how we are doing is the first exercise to gaining mastery over some of the negative aspects of technology use.
So, let’s rate our mood, and let’s use the same scale.
Let’s agree that a one feels like the worst day of your life, and ten feels like the best day EVER!
But five…. five is the magic number. Five is on-the-fence between regulated and dysregulated. A slight breeze of anger, fear, judgement of others or self-criticism and you activate the fight-or-flight response. A sneeze of nurturing, kindness, generosity, or calming and you are regulated and ready to function well. Five tells us how well we are doing.
Remember that dysregulation is the one of the main issues of our tech-influenced time. Dysregulation is when we activate the fight-or-flight response and there is no imminent physical danger. The fight-or-fight response requires a great deal of energy as it prepares the body for life-threatening danger even though it usually gets activated by things like a headline…a post…a slow driver. It increases heart rate, shallows breathing, floods us with stress hormones, stops digestion and, perhaps most importantly, shuts-down our frontal lobe.
Below five uses a lot of fuel…like a big-rig going up Vail Pass.
We do not have the energy to spend on dysregulation, and yet unchecked technology use encourages dysregulation. This is why it is important to become aware of our mood…of how we are doing.
This exercise will help raise your awareness of your regulation state. Once we become aware of when we are dysregulated, we can start using skills to reregulate.
So… on a scale of 1 to 10…. How ya doin’?”