Anytime I’m thinking of making any significant life changes, I like to check in with my body to make sure I’m making the right decision. Our bodies give us signs when things are going well when we are stressed, happy, sad, sleep-deprived, etc. It’s a matter of tapping in with our body and paying attention to how our emotions and mental health impact it. I know that I carry all my stress in my back and jaw. I realized I carried stress in my jaw when grinding my teeth around 5-6 years ago. I thought nothing of it initially until I slightly chipped a tooth in my sleep!
Even though I still grind my teeth, I am more aware of when my jaw tightens. When that does happen, I immediately assess my situation and figure out what is causing the stress and how to combat it. It may be necessary to remove myself from an environment that causes tension in some cases. When that happened, I had to evaluate my relationships and job and overall figure out what was causing my body to have such a stress reaction. That is how I approach any situation that triggers a negative response from my body.
Here are a few questions I ask myself to check in with my emotions, my mind, and my body before making a big life decision:
- What emotions are present when I think about this change or situation?
- Are they positive or negative?
- What is my body’s physical response when I think about this change or situation?
- Is there any tension?
- Do I feel relaxed?
- Does this decision or situation spark joy or happiness?
- Does it cause stress?
- Does this cause me any anxiety?
I’ve used these check-ins before making decisions or evaluating a decision. I’ve regularly used a body wellness check-in to determine whether or not a career opportunity was the right fit for me. I’ve had positions where I was initially excited about the opportunity, and the thought of it brought me joy.
However, in some of these roles, I became unhappy, stressed, and anxious after a period of time. All of these emotions manifested in various ways, including loss of appetite, lack of motivation, jaw tightness, and back tension. After evaluating how the jobs impacted me, I had to make some difficult decisions, leave opportunities that were no longer serving me, and work to find things that brought more peace to my life. I am still a work in progress, but my focus is now on the things that bring me overall peace and happiness and learning how to face and deal with things that don’t.
Hopefully, my process will help you find your way to check in with your body before making a big decision.