How are you? Busy thank you!

I read somewhere that this is the accepted greeting among Chinese business people.

 How are you?

Yet it seems to be universal, doesn’t it?

These days ‘busy’ equates with success – a successful ‘busy’ business, a ‘busy’ social life, an activity holiday packed with ‘busy’ activities and scheduled relaxation time.

When someone asks you how you are – what do you normally say? ‘Oh so-so’, ‘Not too bad, thanks’, Could be worse’, ‘Fine thanks’.

What are you really feeling?

You may give a quick response on autopilot, either negative and downbeat or bright and breezy. Either way, it’s probably a knee-jerk response, where you don’t intend to give a real answer, unless you are with someone you really trust.

We live inside our heads

Place of Serenity | meditationIn fact, for many of us, we are so busy with our thinking heads on, that we don’t even know how we’re feeling.

We live much of our lives inside our heads, and barely taste the food we’re eating, listen to birdsong outside the window or stop to identify that niggly feeling in our stomachs.

Does this sound like you?

If you stop to check in to how your body is physically feeling, it can also reveal how you’re emotionally feeling too.

As you sit and notice that niggly stomach, you may come to understand that it’s expressing fear. So keeping busy means we don’t have to acknowledge or remind ourselves this is what we are hiding. It might even come as a surprise.

How are you? Sit still to explore

If you sit and be still, and really focus on your body, you are connecting in with your emotions.

For many people who get started with mindfulness and meditation, they discover that they don’t really know how they feel. They know they’re not happy, but they can’t describe or identify much more than that.

As humans, one of our key desires is to feel safe. So once we have a few cosy routines, family and creature comforts, we don’t want to step out of this and into feelings that might start to rock the boat!


For many of us, emotions catch us unaware – we find ourselves crying with sadness at a song on the radio or suddenly enraged at a tiny act from a fellow road user.

These emotions are tucked away inside us. We only discover they’re present when one of our buttons is pushed.

Wouldn’t it be better to know yourself more? This is how mindfulness works. It guides you to get to know yourself better and this is a pro-active way of accessing your inner world.

It also gives you the chance to understand better when you do experience a strong emotion. Lisa Nichols describes this in her book, ‘No Matter What’:

Lisa Nichols

The American Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron advises:

‘… So come as you are.
The magic is being willing to be open to that, being willing to be fully awake to that. One of the main discoveries of meditation is seeing how we continually run away from the present moment, how we avoid being here just as we are. That’s not considered to be a problem; the point is to see it.’

Emotions and meditating

You know when something is worrying you?

To share your thoughts with another person can be a relief. It’s the same with emotions that arise while meditating. You acknowledge your emotions, give them some attention, and their power lessens. Place of Serenity | Natural highs

You may feel a surge of emotion – anger, grief or envy. But as you sit with it – it doesn’t last forever. ‘This too will pass’ means that no emotion stays with you indefinitely.

Keep focusing on your breath, rather than getting caught up in the story around the emotion, and you will observe that it loses its charge.

Mindfulness meditation provides the reminder that we are worthwhile and of value simply for being ourselves. It doesn’t have to be connected to how busy we are, how successful or how prominently we place ourselves before the world.

Sit still and mindfully watch your breath now. Listen in to your emotions and watch them arise and fall away.

Nourish yourself with some peace and calm, and get to know yourself with mindfulness.

Do share your comments below!




Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Guide

Place of Serenity | Place of Serenity




Updated July 2019

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  1. Kate Loving Shenk on 28/02/2015 at 12:06 pm

    When I feel busy, I’ve lost my core and center. I may be busy, but to tell people that all the time is obnoxious. And it gets on my nerves when people use that as an excuse to not engage.

    • Yvette on 28/02/2015 at 12:44 pm

      Absolutely, agree whole-heartedly! Thank you for sharing Kate. x

  2. Amanda P on 03/03/2015 at 10:09 pm

    It’s interesting that the autopilot type of response happens, though I’m not sure it’s universal. I’ve heard here in Germany not to ask “How are you?” unless you really want to know because the person will tell you how they’re really doing, perhaps with a 20-minute story, while in the U.S. it is limited to those type of one-word answers you mention.

    I like that quote from the Buddhist Nun and may share that with some people this week. Thanks for sharing the mindfulness bell also.

    • Yvette on 03/03/2015 at 11:35 pm

      Thank you Amanda. How interesting – yes, there must be so many different cultural behaviours around the world. Glad you like Pema Chodron’s quote – she has written lots of great books.

  3. Wendy Tomlinson on 06/03/2015 at 11:36 am

    My standard reply does seem to be “Great Thanks.” There are only a few people I would actually say “Actually I’m having a bit of a rough day and not feeling great” too (when that happens. I am however pretty in tune with how I am feeling. I’ve taught myself over the years to check in with myself and ask “How am I feeling” as I know the way I feel impacts what shows up in my life.

    • Yvette on 06/03/2015 at 11:58 am

      ‘I know the way I feel impacts what shows up in my life’ – so true Wendy! Thank you for sharing.

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