Self Awareness & Mental Health
Why you should learn to be more self-aware?
Self-awareness is the art of examining yourself, how you’re feeling and how your thoughts, actions, and emotions match up with who you are and how you want to be perceived. By focusing on yourself and how you are feeling, you can start to identify what causes certain thoughts or behaviors you no longer want to have. Once you become aware of them, you can start to change them.
It’s not all negative, though! By practicing self-awareness, you can also learn what makes you feel good and increase that, whether it can be an activity, certain people, or mindsets.
How to become more self-aware?
There are methods you can use to become more self-aware. You do not need to try to do them all at once. During the month of August, Quoka members can participate in self-awareness with a challenge. It’s an easy way to practice and learn while limiting distractions. All prompts for the challenge are given through text messages. Sign up at tryquoka.com.
Become a subscriber to Quoka and learn more about becoming self-aware.
Focus on how you want to feel
Make a list of how you feel when you are at your best. Once you know how to describe what it feels like to feel good, you can begin to notice when you do or don’t feel that way and explore why. Without a list, you don’t know what you’re looking for!
Create your map, so you know what you’re looking for. This list can also include how you feel when you are not at your best. Don’t limit the characteristics to only words. Think about how your body feels as well.
For me, I start to accumulate tension in my body, mostly in my legs and shoulders. When I start to feel angry, I feel hot.
Examine Your Behavior
Now that you know what you are looking for, when you notice that you are either feeling your best or not your best, the next step is to look at how you behave. When you are feeling your best, what do you do? When you are not, how are you acting? Often you can start to recognize patterns in your behavior.
This can be a challenging part of the process because it takes time. It helps if you have someone that you can talk to, that will listen to you as you explain what you did or did not do when you noticed your behavior and feelings.
Tell people that you’re working on becoming more self-aware. If you don’t feel like you have others that you can be honest, try messaging Quoka or journaling.
Becoming Mindful and Making Changes
Now that you are aware of the behavior that you exhibit, you can look at what triggered or caused this behavior. Doing this throughout the day is called being mindful.
Practicing Mindfulness helps you identify what may be going on in a situation and process it. You will start to learn more about yourself and what makes you comfortable or uncomfortable. Once you are familiar with your levels of comfort, you can take steps to address them in a healthy way. Maybe someone said something that you did not agree with. Or you found yourself in a situation that you did not want to be in.
The next time the same or similar situation presents itself, this is your opportunity to change your behavior and get a different outcome. This can be as easy as setting boundaries, walking away, or taking a break. Doing this is not selfish, and it’s important to take this last step in the process of becoming more self-aware.
Self Care as a Tool For Deeper Self-Awareness
Saying “no” to setting boundaries and putting ourselves first is a part of self-awareness. We often neglect taking care of ourselves and prioritize others’ desires which results in our inability to be at our best.
Self-care looks different for everyone because everyone is unique. What works for someone may not work for you. Here is a short list of possible self-care activities you can try.
Get massages or take a nap.
Go for a walk or do a physical or sports activity
Read, write, or take a bubble bath
Catch up with your friends or family
Watch a movie or television show
Go see art
Breathe work, mirror work, meditation, or affirmations
Give time or resources to charity
Clean up your living or workspace
Self-Care as a Daily Practice
Self-care has no limits. Incorporate it into your day, every day. As you start to explore different options for self-care, the love that you have for yourself will deepen and heighten your self-awareness.
Keep the focus on yourself. The longer you do this, the more comfortable you will feel, making yourself a priority. Remember that you are the main character in your life, pay attention to each moment, how it makes you feel, and whether you are communicating clearly and respectfully what you want, speaking up for yourself without feeling guilty.
The great thing about doing this is that it gives others permission to do it as well, amplifying the effect out into the world. Everyone becomes happier.
What To Do When Things Go Wrong?
Self-care and being self-aware are not magical solutions to all of life’s problems. You will still have challenges along the way, but with these tools, in your toolbox, you will be better equipped to handle them. Self-awareness and self-care activities are great ways to productively and proactively work through difficult life situations.
Create A Balance
Being self-aware is a constant work in progress, and striving for perfection can be unhealthy. Remember that not everything is in your control, so have grace with yourself if you fall off with your mindfulness and self-care practice. You can always start again.
When you do fall off, look at other areas of your life that may be out of balance. Are you facing extra stress at work, school, or home? Focusing too much on one thing can lead to burnout. If you’ve been trying one of the tips mentioned above for a while, switch it up! This is especially important if you’re prone to addictive behavior.
Enjoy Being With Yourself
Finding balance is not just about the what but also about the who. Self-awareness includes how you feel around others and how you feel when you are by yourself. During the time when you are starting to become more self-aware, you may find that the relationships that you have with people change, and you’re finding yourself spending more time alone as a result.
This is normal, and you should take it as an opportunity to deepen your self-awareness practice. Note how you feel when you are by yourself. It is possible to be happy when you’re on your own. Learn to enjoy your own company. Remember, contrary to popular belief, loneliness is not only experienced when you are by yourself.
Many people have said that they felt alone even when in a crowded room. Being alone is not the same as loneliness. As people, we rarely are by ourselves. For generations, we have evolved from tribes and family units. So even though being by yourself may seem uncomfortable at first, it’s because it is a new experience, not necessarily because something is wrong with it.
Seek Support & Help Others
Of course, don’t stay alone all the time if you miss the comfort of being with others. Remember, it is about balance. Quoka anonymous text messaging is a great way to share with others and get and give peer support without even leaving your home.
It’s not selfish to do what you want to do all the time. Spoil yourself! You only get one life to live, be grateful, and live each day taking care of yourself and you will be in the best position to truly help others.