Having a high level of self-awareness is a powerful tool. By understanding yourself better you can improve your life so that you can be happier, more successful and have better relationships.
On the other hand, the less self-aware you are, the more life is likely to be frustrating.
Self-awareness is having a high degree of knowledge about yourself. It’s awareness of your habits, emotional tendencies, needs, desires, strengths, and weaknesses.
Since life is complex, much of what we do every day occurs outside conscious awareness. Besides the obvious things like breathing or making your heart pump, many things like deciding whether to trust someone or why you prefer a certain food are also handled unconsciously.
Here are some ways to increase your self-awareness
1. Notice your thoughts
Unless you’ve been meditating for years, your mind is constantly churning through ideas and endlessly providing commentary. Not all of it is helpful.
Notice your thinking patterns. What are you thinking when you’re feeling nervous, Bored, Interested, Walking down the street, Notice that similar situations result in similar thought patterns.
Do you judge people and situations, Do you spend a lot of time thinking about the past or the future,
Do you expect the worst to happen or the best, Or do you adopt an attitude of, “Let’s just see what happens”,
2. Notice your feelings
What are you feeling throughout the day, What do you feel while you’re eating, Commuting to work, Lying in bed, Waiting in line,
Once you’ve noticed your emotion, explore it. What am I feeling, Why, What do I need right now, How do I normally react in this situation, Is that smart,
3. Notice your body
School and the work of most people encourages us to stay in our mind, and to ignore our body as much as possible.
Pause and check in with your body. Pick a random body part and put your attention there. What is it feeling,
If you have stress symptoms like headaches or back pain, see if you can notice the discomfort when it first starts rather than waiting until it’s full blown to pay attention to it.
If you have trouble noticing or sensing your body, try this. Notice how your feet meet the floor. How does the pressure vary when you are sitting or standing, Barefoot or in shoes, How does it feel different if you walk across something cold or warm,
How do you know you are sitting or lying down, Notice the pressure, the outline of your body and other sensations that confirm your body’s position.
As you go further, notice how your body sensations and emotions connect. When you feel certain emotions what is the accompanying physical sensation,
4. Explore how you deal with emotional discomfort
A big chunk of our time is spent trying to make ourselves feel better. If you feel slightly frustrated or uncomfortable, then you may spend a tremendous amount of energy trying to change the situation or the people around you to resolve those negative feelings.
Pay attention to your natural tendencies. Do you try to control others, Do you attempt to distract yourself, Is your first instinct to leave the situation, Do you surf the internet or eat a big bowl of ice cream,
5. Examine your friendships
Where do you find your friends, Are most of your friendships long-term or short-lived,
When your friendships end, is there a common cause, What types of people do you prefer to be friends with, What types of people do you avoid,
6. Examine your intimate relationships
Do you see a pattern in the type of people that you’ve been involved with, What are the positive and negative characteristics they all share, Why do you think those people appealed to you,
What were your shortcomings in your relationships, Are you clingy, Jealous, Too focused on work, Failed to communicate your needs,
Curiously explore how you contributed to the failure of your relationships.
Have you changed your approach from relationship to relationship, or do you continue to repeat some mistakes,
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As you do this, notice the thoughts and feelings that come up. Are you inclined to judge yourself, Or is this just a curious moment of judgment-free self-discovery,
How might you have more compassion for yourself while increasing your awareness,
7. Keep a journal
A journal can be a helpful way to learn about yourself. Record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences each day.
Studies have shown that we don’t remember our past very accurately, so record it while it’s still fresh in your mind. Be sure to include your high and low points for the day.
Note how well you ate and slept, too. You might find some useful information.
Create a habit of writing in your journal for at least 15 minutes each day. You’ll start to notice patterns and learn a lot about yourself.
Self Awareness can increase confidence and enhance intimacy
Understanding yourself might be the most important piece of your self-development puzzle. It can give you vital information so you can be happier, more successful and enjoy your relationships more.
Maintain an awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Examine and question them. You may be surprised by what you find.