With all that is going on in the world, how are you doing? Many people respond to this question with a generic, “I’m doing great!” or “I’m doing well”. How are you really doing? What are you really feeling, what are your worries or stresses? Often, in times of stress and uncertainty, we can tend to ignore or overlook how we are feeling inside, in order to keep moving forward and stay productive. A 2017 study conducted by the American Institute of Stress, found that the top causes of stress in the United States are job pressure, money and health. Interestingly to note, what three aspects of our every day life are currently at the forefront of our minds? Each day, we wake up to more headlines that are impacting these three specific stressors. Yet, when people ask us how we are doing, how do you most often respond? Here are three tips on incorporating a more genuine and honest response to the question, “how are you?” that are authentic to yourself:

1. Incorporate something you have learned about yourself during this time

What have you learned about yourself now that our lives have all shifted? What are you beginning to notice about how you adapt to change? Incorporating a response that encompasses aspects of yourself that you have begun to notice can be helpful in creating connections to others. Have you felt innovative during this time? Have you filled your time with various hobbies or work requirements? Have you needed to slow down and take each day one by one? Noticing aspects about yourself during this time can also help with effective coping strategies.

2. Discuss something you have achieved while in quarantine

Achievements and accomplishments are not always huge. Sometimes, making your bed each morning can be a significant accomplishment given the current times. Try incorporating some of your achievements into your response. “I am doing okay, one way I know this, is if I can make my bed each morning”. Your accomplishments can be silly, they can be small, or they can be big. There are not many limitations on what constitutes an accomplishment. I challenge you think about the small or big things you have accomplished during this time—have you cooked a homemade meal? Have you tried a new recipe? Have you gone for walks outside? Have you tried a new hobby? These are all accomplishments that can be incorporated for a more genuine response to “how are you?”

3. Don’t be afraid of asking for help

There is certainly nothing wrong with asking for help, especially during times of uncertainty. If a friend asks you how you are doing, try responding with asking how they are coping with the current state of the world—“You know, I am struggling with ____, do you have any advice?”. Everyone has their own unique coping skills that we can all learn from. Some may even be helpful in incorporating into your own life. This is also a great way to connect with others and deepen the conversation to becoming more authentic and realistic. 

To Sum Up:

Practice implementing more honest and authentic responses to the question, “How are you?” You can practice looking inward and reflecting on how you are really feeling by practicing mindfulness and meditation exercises. After doing mindfulness practice, combine your authentic feelings with the above three tips to encompass a more honest response. Check out more information about mindfulness practice below to learn about Mindshine.