Consider How You Are Before Responding to The Question

mindset relationships wellbeing

"Good thanks! You?" is a response I hear often.

It's typically a quick follow-up when I inquire about whether someone is okay.

It was my go-to response for years. Admittedly, it sometimes still is.

But now, when I'm asked if I'm okay, I tend to pause and think before responding.

I find it helps with being able to respond honestly.

Some people find it strange. As highlighted by their nervous laugh.

Others seem frustrated because I'm clearly taking too long.

Then there are those for whom it invites further inquiry.

When I do respond, the follow-up question is usually something like:

"Are you sure? You hesitated before answering."

I'm both humoured and frustrated by the fact that delay isn't expected or encouraged.

A lack of certainty benefits from inquiry and in this instance, internal inquiry is good.

This is why I give myself permission to check in when asked how I am.

I take the opportunity to use the prompt to my advantage.

By taking a moment, I allow myself to briefly examine my thoughts, feelings, and physiology.

  • Have I appeased distorted thinking?
  • What are my dominant emotions?
  • Is there any tension in my body?

A quick answer to each of these questions helps me identify what I might need and to answer with a greater level of awareness.

It's a habit that doesn't feel comfortable or safe.

In fact, by committing to this practice, I've had some vulnerable interactions.

Whether it's an emotive and sensitive conversation with a family member or a brief interaction with someone in a coffee shop, it comes with risk.

But so far, the risk has been worth it.

From being able to identify and express my anxiety or anger to noticing and communicating my need for a timeout, allowing space to think before responding has been good for me.

So, the next time someone inquires about how you are, I'd invite you to take a moment to check in with yourself before answering.