When our daughter is getting out of control, my wife will often pull her aside and lovingly suggest (or strongly require) that she do a “self check”.
The self check is a reminder to pause and reassess how things are going, whether or not she’s behaving the way she ought. Sure, it doesn’t always work, and it’s still her call whether she’s going to make the right decision, but it often helps bring her back from the edge. It helps us temper our own anger as well.
The self check can be a handy practice, not just for kids on the verge of crazy, but also for your own personal discipline.
I’ve been reading through Dr. Wayne Andersen’s promotional booklet Stop. Challenge. Choose. It’s mostly about recognizing our habits and turning the unhealthy ones into healthy ones. At least, that’s what the parts I’ve read are about.
It’s Andersen’s own brand of the self check:
-Pause when you’re faced with a choice that could lead to unhealthy action.
-Confront the temptation by considering whether it will lead you in the direction you want to go.
-Make a decision.
Besides just examining my daily habits, I’ve been trying to pause and do my own form of self check. At present, I’m focusing on my posture (it can get pretty bad) and breathing.
At different times throughout the day, I’ll do a self check to assess where I’m at and what sorts of thoughts I’m holding. Then I’ll straighten my back, and breathe deep. It actually makes a difference. I’ve noticed I can think more clearly and just feel better and more emotionally stable.
I’ve even found it helps promote creative thought as I end up being less distracted and more open to new and exciting ideas.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy to remember to do this and it’s not like I’m transported to some happy place where everything’s peachy and I’m floating on a cloud. But at least I come away a little more refreshed and with a better perspective.
So, next time you feel out of control or faced with temptation, try a self check. Take a little break and a big breath. Think about where you’re heading. Examine your thought patterns. Then straighten up and press on (hopefully in a better direction).