For most of us, the practice of self-awareness is downright challenging! This is because it involves taking a deeper look at your thoughts, emotions and actions. It’s especially difficult to sit with those feelings when you’ve had a rough day. Believe me, I know what it’s like. The last thing you want to do is reflect upon stress! However, the practice of self-awareness is the first step in creating and mastering what you truly want in life.
So, why is it beneficial to deepen your self-awareness?
- Reduce emotional reactiveness
- Change false beliefs into empowering beliefs
- Reduce inner criticisms and judgment
- Increase positive communication in your relationships
- Attract and radiate love and joy throughout your life
- Understand what drives and motivates you
- Connect with sense of purpose and greater meaning
Essentially, self-awareness is a form of objective observation. It is the practice of observing your thoughts and emotions without judgment or ultimatums.
What’s the best way to get started? Begin to take note of the chatter going on in your head and feelings that arise throughout the day. Recognize it’s ok to have thoughts, feelings and reactions that aren’t your idea of perfection. The act of observation lessens the power of the egoic mind. Why? Think about what happens when you have a very stressful day at work but pretend as though nothing happened. Eventually, you may find yourself taking out that stress in the form of arguments with your significant other. Even worse, you may take it out on yourself.
Let’s take a look at how you can end the day on a high note by practicing self-awareness. First, you take the time to recognize your stressful day. Perhaps you recall the moment when your boss over-reacted and set your entire afternoon off. Then, you take a few moments to exercise compassion and care for yourself. Giving these not-so-pleasant emotions your sincerity reduces the chances that they boil over. Take a few deep breaths and express gratitude that you are now on your way home to spend time with your family!
Observing yourself objectively is not always fun or easy because it involves spending more time dealing with that which we find unpleasant. However, as time goes on, the things that once aggravated us no longer cause irritation. Eventually, you find yourself way less stressed out. Less irritated by the external world. Less impacted by the actions of others. This process, which requires your active and conscious involvement, creates profound change!
Here are 3 ways to deepen your self-awareness.
1.) Utilize the Breath
The breath is a powerful spiritual technology with an immediate physiological response. Statistics tell us that the majority of the population is holding their breath; utilizing only 30% of our lung capacity!
Yugesh Pillay, Art of Living teacher and businessman, says the simple method of breathing will allow us to live to our full potential. Pillay says, “Think of the mind as a kite and the breath like a string. So like you control the kite with the string, you can control your mind with your breath. When we relax the mind and we calm the mind, we unlock the mind’s full potential.”
While we do not always have access to a meditation space or time to practice yoga in the middle of our work day, we always have access to the breath. When stress arises, breathe deeply and visualize the oxygen being delivered directly to the points of irritation or stress. This allows us to become immediately aware of our bodies. Simultaneously, this provides a healing response.
2.) Quiet Reflection & Meditation
Find a quiet space where you can relax and be still. We so often use our hectic schedules as an excuse for pushing aside time for ourselves. In order to develop self-awareness, it is very important that you start with an empty canvas. Turn off your phone. Turn off the television and the radio. Create space for 5 minutes worth of quiet time unplugged from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Quiet reflection will provide you with profound insights into your inner world. With practice, you’ll soon begin to reflect upon yourself, what happened throughout the day, how it made you feel, how you responded and why. I find that quiet reflection is a great introduction to a deeper meditation practice! For those that are ready to dive into meditation, click here to watch my latest meditation or tune in below!
3.) Keep a Private Journal
Keeping a daily journal is a powerful practice that allows you to get your thoughts out there on paper before the day even starts and revisit them at a later time for deeper introspection. Aside from the stress release benefits, this is a powerful tool for understanding the ways in which you think and values you believe in. Writing is an opportunity to communicate the subconscious emotions you may be overlooking. The act of writing provides a canvas for self-expression so that these emotions can be observed with greater clarity.
Incorporating these self-awareness activities into your life will help you to cultivate a truly warm and loving relationship with yourself. Along the way, you may be surprised to learn many fascinating discoveries about your passions and purpose as you align with your true authentic self.