Self-awareness is like multitasking: most think they have it, but few do. Of course, unlike multitasking, you may be able to teach yourself to improve self-awareness.
As far as multitasking goes, it’s best to just stick to one thing at a time!
Self-awareness – being in tune with your own emotions – seems pretty straightforward. But humans are emotional creatures, and the spectrum of emotions that are felt can be, sometimes, hard to fully understand.
Just because you might do a lot of laughing or cry easily, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re aware of your feelings or why you might be feeling that way.
Increasing self-awareness is one of the benefits of mindfulness. Becoming more aware of body sensations, for example, can boost emotional intelligence and help you better navigate feelings or reactions.
When you learn to recognize emotions, you’ll be better equipped to know why a feeling is arising and how to control it. It allows you to identify emotions you may not want to act on and act accordingly.
For example, being emotionally aware may help you avoid untimely arguments.
If you’re out with your spouse, and they say something upsetting to you in front of close friends, having emotional intelligence will allow you to feel and recognize the anger without necessarily falling victim to a knee-jerk reaction.
Instead, you will have the control to wait a few moments to think clearly before responding.
You can work on improving self-awareness by:
- Sitting quietly in a comfortable position with your eyes closed
- Think of something a little sad but not overwhelming
- Notice the location in your body when you feel the emotion
- Place your hands on that part of the body in a caring and soothing way
- Repeat the above steps using different emotions like anger, fear, and joy
Keeping a journal can help, too. Take time to write down how specific events or interactions made you feel and what you felt.