Our series of posts related to mental health continues. Today we talk about self awareness.
Did you know that self-awareness is one key to taking care of your mental health and wellbeing? When someone is self-aware, they are more apt to see changes within themselves that can be warning signs of mental health concerns.
Self-awareness is a form of stepping back and observing our thoughts and feelings as they unfold. Simply put, self-awareness is shining a light on the parts of our internal world that might otherwise get buried down, pushed aside, or go unnoticed. Your “internal world” is just another way of saying your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and urges.
Self-awareness takes courage and can often be confronting and uncomfortable. Sometimes you might even question why you decided this was a good idea in the first place. You will not always like what you find and that is okay.
Living alongside our strengths, achievements and lighter side are our fears, inadequacies, regrets, failures and flaws. As we practice self-awareness, we are likely to tap into the more challenging, embarrassing, confusing and overwhelming parts of who we are. In fact, if you’re not occasionally thinking to yourself “wow, I wish I hadn’t done that” or “I really don’t like the way I spoke to that person then” you’re most likely hiding from some parts of yourself.
An important part of self-awareness is knowing how to give ourselves grace and self-compassion. Remember, we do this for our loved ones, why would we not do this for ourselves? Practicing self-awareness without giving ourselves grace and self-compassion is a recipe for feeling crappy about ourselves. We need to remind ourselves that self-awareness is not self-judgment. Honesty is key to self-awareness, but it seems to only be possible with a giant dose of self-compassion and giving ourselves grace alongside.
A simple way to begin practicing self-awareness is by regularly checking and asking yourself:
- What am I feeling in my body right now?
- What thoughts are running through my mind? What am I saying to myself?
- What emotions are around?
- What am I wanting to do or what am I doing because of how I think and feel?
The more self-aware we become, the more likely we are to notice negative changes that may be occurring within our thoughts and feelings, which can lead us to seek help and support if needed.
As you become more self-aware, I hope you find your world becomes lighter, brighter and happier.