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Real feels

Have you heard a meteorologist mention the real feel? It’s a term that accounts for all kinds of factors affecting the weather outside. Things like the wind speed, humidity, cloud cover, of course temperature; but there’s also precipitation, ground conditions, the jet stream and lots more. Weather forecasting has become quite sophisticated over the past several decades as our technology advances ever so persistently. Looking at an old-fashioned plastic thermometer mounted outside the kitchen window doesn’t cut it anymore, especially when the full-on morning sun hits it on a cold snowy day. It’s just not enough. You have to account for those other factors to get the real feel.

Turns out the weather is a very useful metaphor for your inner condition. How are you feeling today? Sunny? Stormy? Cloudy? Oppressed? Breezy? Crisp? Gloomy? Like a hurricane? See how that works? We even use lots of weather words to describe feelings. It’s particularly useful when you’re talking to kids, or to adults who, like kids, haven’t fully mastered the whole feelings thing. There are lots of us. Maybe you’re one of them.

The big picture is a good start but, like my old-fashioned thermometer, it might be necessary to get more information. This is not only a good practice for yourself, but you can think about it as you encounter others in your day. You can feel sunny but cold. Could be you sense a storm brewing, but you know it’s going to blow out of here quickly. Maybe you’re having a good day, but you walk into a hailstorm at work or at home. It’s good to account for as many factors that you can so you get a more accurate picture – you know, the real feel.

And just like weather, you have a “climate” that dominates most of the time – you’re a sunny optimist; a calm, cool cat; a whirlwind; a worrier – that’s your personality. But you still experience a lot of variety day in and day out – rain, sudden drop in temperature, windstorm, snowfall, the sun finally comes out – that’s your mood. That’s the stuff that changes often and can change a lot. Outside and inside. Affecting the real feel. And, there are times when that is a really good thing, like when you’re down. Just know that storms do pass. Clouds do evaporate. There are good days ahead. It gets better.

Check in with yourself this week. Enjoy all your real feels.


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