Becoming More Aware, the how & why it's important
I use to think that self-awareness was the ultimate challenge in life. Little did I know as a high-functioning Autistic that my self-awareness was already pretty high and double that up with people pleasing my awareness of others ruled my life. Today I want to touch on this topic because many of my client's homework between sessions is all about becoming aware of their thoughts, feelings and emotions in the body.
The first time I spoke to one of my CBT clients about cultivating and practising awareness, I felt really uncomfortable, I thought it was a little out there, a bit woo-woo and perhaps that the person sitting opposite me would think I'm just as crazy as them. Turns out that this little piece to the puzzle of how to change our patterns is the key to acknowledging where to begin.
Many of us who have suffered from anxiety, depression, stress, overwhelm, frustration and even anger find ourselves caught up in a loop of overthinking. This triggers our body to stop, and most of us let it consume us - those thoughts become the audio track for the day. It's exhausting. This leads us to become more tired, sluggish and heavy.
However those thoughts are what needs to be addressed, and honesty we can't control all of them, we have over 90,000 a day! So when you are fighting off feeling or deep emotions like grief, pain, and sadness creep in - we welcome anything and everything to push them to the side. When in actual fact we are training our body what to do when we feel certain things. However, what do they all mean?
Learning who we are and how we respond and react to things is an important step to self-acceptance. There are things we can fine-tune to show up as the person we want to be. It's really cool, however, if we don't have self-awareness in the first place we can't play with this.
What is Self-Awareness?
Awareness is the state of being conscious of our thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and external environment. It involves paying attention to our experiences in the present moment without judgment or distraction.
When we are aware, we can observe our thoughts and emotions without getting caught up in them, which allows us to respond to situations in a more deliberate and effective manner. Additionally, cultivating awareness can help us appreciate the present moment more fully and live more mindfully, which can enhance our overall sense of well-being.
Why cultivate awareness:
Reducing Stress and Anxiety: By increasing your awareness of your thoughts and emotions, you can learn to observe them without getting caught up in them. This can help you better manage stress and anxiety, and respond to difficult situations in a more effective manner.
Improving Emotional Regulation: When you are aware of your emotions, you can learn to regulate them more effectively. This can help you avoid impulsive or destructive behaviours and build more positive relationships with others.
Enhancing Self-Acceptance: Awareness can help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your strengths and weaknesses. By learning to accept yourself without judgment, you can develop a greater sense of self-worth and confidence.
Improving Focus and Attention: Cultivating awareness can help you become more present and focused, reducing distractions and improving your ability to concentrate on tasks.
Enhancing Relationships: By becoming more aware of your own thoughts and emotions, you can develop greater empathy and understanding for others. This can help improve communication, build stronger relationships, and reduce conflicts.
How can we become more aware of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours in everyday life?
Mindfulness Meditation: Mindfulness meditation involves bringing your attention to the present moment, without judgment or distraction. This can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions as they arise, and allow you to observe them without getting caught up in them. If you are a newbie at meditation start short 5-10 minutes and then extend when you feel ready. I use the app called InsightTimer (It's free!)
Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and emotions can help you become more aware of them, as well as provide an opportunity for self-reflection and insight. Free writing is all about getting whats on your chest of clouding your mind, break down your writing into thoughts & feelings to help you notice the difference between the two!
Body Scan: A body scan involves bringing your attention to different parts of your body, and noticing any sensations or tensions. This can help you become more aware of your physical sensations and how they are related to your thoughts and emotions.
Self-Observation: Taking moments throughout the day to check in with yourself, notice your thoughts and emotions, and observe how they are influencing your behaviour can help you become more aware of your patterns and tendencies.
Mindful Breathing: Focusing on your breath and noticing your thoughts and emotions as they come and go can help you develop greater awareness of your internal experiences. Try box breathing - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJJazKtH_9I
It's important to note that cultivating awareness is a practice that requires regular effort and patience. Start with one or two techniques that resonate with you, and gradually build on them as you feel comfortable. With practice, you can develop greater self-awareness and gain more control over your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.
Awareness is a practice! Only 3% of the population have mastered full self-awareness and self-acceptance. This is something I work on daily and I've found that the key is to live in the present moment, reminding myself that each day has a full 24 hours that I can be alive in. That my body has wisdom, that my emotions are to move through me and that all things pass. Through deepening my own awareness I've healed many parts of me that I thought was broken. It's taken time and compassion.
If you wish to deepen your awareness, join us in the Confidence Code, I have a module dedicated to body wisdom and self-acceptance where awareness is the main talking point.