Self-awareness is being aware of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors and how your perception of these elements influence the choices you make. Benefits of a heightened self-awareness include better relationships, improved mood, better decision making, more effective communication and increased productivity. It is also essential to focus on self- awareness so you can identify what is working in your life and the elements that are not. Once problematic areas are identified, one can focus on strategies to overcome those obstacles and make room for new positive experiences in life.
We often have patterns of the way we think of certain situations or outcomes. Our thoughts create our perception of the outside world and what our place and role is in that world. Thoughts are often habitual and serve a purpose to help us grow and succeed in life. It is important to stay aware of your thoughts, to ensure that unfair biases and discrimination are not tainting your overall perception and view. Often times outside sources such as friends, the media and music can influence our perceptions and thoughts. Writing down your thoughts can help identify patterns that may no longer be working to your benefit. Once identified, one can work towards new goals that will lead to their success.
It is important to have an awareness of all of the different emotions and feelings that can be experienced and to understand that feelings and emotions are transitory states. Emotions can often bridge difficult situations into new learning experiences which can make room for new ideas. There is no time frame for how long any emotion or feeling should last. If one emotion becomes more dominant in your life it is important to take note to determine if it is beneficial or harmful. Sometimes when people become consumed in angry or sad emotional states, it can be helpful to talk to others about what they are feeling in an effort to process and work through that state so they can regain emotional stability.
Behavior tends to be the way we act in response to the emotional state we are in. Often, we have tendencies or habits to act a certain way in response to a situation. It is essential to stay aware of our behavior to ensure that it is leading us towards our goals and overall happiness. If you are aware of a behavioral pattern you don’t like, you can make conscious changes to alter that behavior in the future, so it benefits you.
When one is self-aware, they are fully conscious of how their thoughts affect their emotions and lead to different behaviors. With heightened awareness in these areas, one is more likely to catch maladaptive patterns of thinking that are leading to negative emotional states and behaviors and can choose to change their thought process in order to make room for new opportunities and a future filled with joy and happiness.
By: Amber Sanner, MS, LMFT