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How To Cultivate Self-Awareness?

5 ways to become more self-aware.

Self-awareness involves monitoring our stress, thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. It is important, because it’s a major mechanism influencing personal development. Our lives can get out-of-control pretty fast if we are unaware of how and under what circumstances our emotional nature is triggered.

How do we increase self-awareness?

Self-awareness requires self-examination. For example, asking oneself questions about things that affect our well-being. Be honest, non-judgmental and make self-analysis. This is not easy - remember the answers lie within you. Focus on what you hope to achieve in being more self-aware.

We tend to criticise ourselves for our failings or fantasise about how great we are, when neither is actually the case. We all have a unique mix of 'good' and 'bad' trait, but we are largely unaware of them. In order to self-reflect objectively, we need to quiet our minds and open our hearts, forgiving ourselves for our imperfections and praise ourselves for any achievements.

So how do we build self-awareness?

1. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is similar to self-awareness in that they both relate to consciously directing our thoughts inward in order to become more aware of our inner state of being, to observe our thoughts and beliefs, and to notice what triggers our emotions as they rise and fall. Mindfulness includes focused attention in the moment to whatever one is doing, and involves practices such as meditation or quietening of the mind.

2. Write in a journal

Writing our thoughts or stream-of-consciousness ideas can help us open up to those vulnerable places within. Writing sometimes reveals what contemplation does not, so this method of self-exploration may assist you in expanding your self-awareness. Telling your story, releasing your worries on paper, dreaming up your fantasy situation — these are ways your subconscious can speak to you, revealing what’s really 'the matter.'

3. Be a better listener

'Getting out of ourselves' by focusing on another person is a good cure to stop unending negative thinking. By listening objectively, even lovingly, to what that person wants to or needs to share, we learn how to better listen to our own inner dialogues and opinions objectively and lovingly.

4. Ask for feedback

Since we are with ourselves all the time, we may miss something when we look at ourselves. That’s where the objectivity of others can be most helpful in self-assessment. If you have the courage, ask a friend, family, or colleague for their opinion of you, or ask about how you managed a project you worked on together or how you handled yourself in a tricky situation.

Be prepared and willing to hear what they have to say. When some aspect of self is revealed that could use some additional refinement, be willing to look behind the obvious to its underlying secret or wound. When you find something that needs changing, make a mental or written note to yourself to look at it later when you are alone in a quiet space for your self-care.

5. Walk in nature

The mind tends to wander along with our feet, so while walking we can be conscious to examine our part in something that is happening in our lives in that moment in time. This could be at work, in social situations, in our relationships, or within the family.

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