• Susan Morris

Self Awareness and Why it Matters

Self-awareness is—being in tune with your emotions—it may sound relatively straightforward- But people tend to overestimate their level of self-awareness. What is yours?

Self-awareness is one’s ability to identify and understand feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. As a result, you can monitor yourself better and create a more purposeful life. At its core, self-awareness is our ability to understand ourselves. It is a skill that we can develop.

Becoming more self-aware is one of the benefits of mindfulness—the practice of focusing on the here and now and accepting whatever arises in our awareness without judgment. For a practice that focuses specifically on emotions, try the following exercise:

  1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position and close your eyes.

  2. Bring to mind something a little sad, but not overwhelming.

  3. Notice where in your body you feel that sadness.

  4. Place one of your hands on that part of your body in a caring, soothing way.

  5. Repeat the above steps but substitute different emotions for sadness: fear, anger, joy.



When we sit through our emotions, we see that they consist of a bodily sensation accompanied by a thought, an image, or both. The more clearly we can recognize emotions in our bodies, the more we know when a feeling arises within us.


I know there was a point in my lifetime that I didn't feel any emotions. I shut down all feeling in my body. For me, it was a survival mechanism. When it no longer worked for me, I had to find ways to get those feelings back. It took me a while to feel and to recognize the emotions right away.

Sensations can serve as an "early warning signal" for problematic or negative emotions that you might not want to act on automatically. For instance, imagine your spouse or partner says something that upsets you in front of your close friends. Take a moment to feel the sensations of anger in your body, but don't react or say anything right away. Wait a few moments until you can think clearly before responding.

When we examine our emotions carefully, we see that they consist of a bodily sensation accompanied by a thought, an image, or both. The more clearly we can recognize emotions in our bodies, the more clearly we know when a feeling is arising within us. What to do with that emotion is our decision.




5 WAYS TO CULTIVATE SELF AWARENESS



Give yourself time this week to reflect on your feelings.


Be Aware


Identify feelings


Be Gentle with yourself







Resources:

https://www.developgoodhabits.com/self-awareness-activities/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/advance-your-self-awareness

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