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Artwork by Jocelyn Chantelle @joce_cova

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Just One Thing

Quadrinity Wellness Check

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For many, loving and appreciating others comes much easier than loving themselves. The Hoffman Institute, a nonprofit based in Napa Valley, wants to help you change that pattern with the Hoffman Process, an intense week-long retreat that's been compared to the equivalent of 10 years of therapy. It’s gained a celebrity following, too—Katy Perry says it gave her the mental-health help to get ready for motherhood.

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One technique the organization teaches is the Quadrinity Check—and we're sharing it with you here. The exercise is simple, just four steps focused on listening to the different aspects of self—physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual—and can be done anywhere, from the shower to the drive to work. “Our body is the battleground for the conflict between our emotional and intellectual self,” explains Hilary Illick, an executive coach, a life coach and a senior faculty member at the Hoffman Institute. “The spiritual self is love and wisdom.”

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Below, her tips on how to do your own check-in when you need a little self-love, healing and compassion.

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The Steps

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Step 1. Intellectual

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Find a quiet place and close your eyes. I like to give the intellect—what you are thinking in the moment—the microphone first and ask it, “What are your thoughts, opinions and judgements right now?” You might have thoughts about what you are doing that’s wrong in the moment, or judgments on your actions.

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Reframe the negative thoughts. Instead of your intellect being in the wrong, have compassion for it and recognize that your intellect is trying to help you and solve a problem. You can ask your intellect what it needs from you.

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Give yourself and your intellect permission to have its thoughts and judgments. Your intellect could need a break, or just acknowledgment that it is trying to help you. You can say softly, “Thank you, intellect.”

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Step 2. Emotional

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Next, move to your emotional self, and notice what you are feeling at the moment. Your intellect may have judgments about certain feelings, but allow your intellect to back off. It's helpful to find one-word descriptions of how you are feeling (e.g. sad, stressed, peaceful, depressed).

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In the midst of the pandemic, it’s highly likely your emotional self has fear, frustration or anger.

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Allow your emotional self to be in this moment. Ask your emotional self, “What do you need?” Your emotional self may need a hug, or a good cry, or a laugh. When we allow our emotional self to be who they are, they move through us.

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Your emotional self can also change ages from situation to situation. You may be able to visualize how you are feeling—perhaps a visual of yourself as a toddler who may need a tantrum, or a hug.

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You can also take a moment to check in with the relationship and harmony between your emotional and intellectual self. You may call a truce between the two, allowing you to feel your emotions without judgement.

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Then say softly, “Thank you, emotional self,” and appreciate your emotional self for its fluidity and ability to change.

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Step 3. Physical

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Take a deep breath and check in with your body. Start with listening to the sensations your body is feeling in the moment. Where do you have aches and pains? How are you breathing? Bring non-judgmental awareness to what you are noticing.

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Then ask your body what it needs. This is a different kind of listening because your body may ask for things that are different from what your intellectual and emotional selves demand.

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Your body may ask for rest. Or it could ask for air or water. Your body might ask for food, or movement, or a type of clothing.

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The most important step is the last one: appreciation. We have such a perfectionist culture and have unrealistic demands on our body. Thank your body for carrying you and supporting you and loving you. Say softly out loud, “Thank you, body.”

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Step 4. Spiritual

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Take another deep breath and recognize your spiritual self, which is your inner agent of peace, right here, right now. It's self-love, the part of you that appreciates all parts of you non-judgmentally in the moment

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Your spiritual self has brought you to all healing experiences, such as this exercise. It’s always compassionate, and non-judgmental. The spiritual self cares about all parts of you, and loves you.

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As you connect with your spiritual self, you may feel sensations of warmth or tingling.

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Your spiritual self will communicate to you, and the guidance it has for you. It’s the part of you that witnesses with love. Your spiritual self has been part of this entire quadrinity check, guiding you and loving you along the way. Say softly, “Thank you, spiritual self.”

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