Mindfulness and self-awareness. These two concepts are so important in a quest to live your best life. Mindfulness and Self-Awareness are terms in the mental health community that play keys roles in how individuals operate whether it be in a healthy or unhealthy manner. When it comes to mental health there are many things that our community put off on the church or do not want to acknowledge as things that we could potentially have full control over but want to brush off as things that will pass. Both self-awareness and mindfulness are mental health tools that we can begin to use that will put us on a path to being holistically well in terms of our mental, physical, and emotional health.
Self-Awareness is the willingness, to be honest with yourself when examining why you do the things you do. The hardest part is the honesty which can be understandable because you are potentially placing yourself in a vulnerable state and this can be hard because you may have to acknowledge the thought of who you are versus who you think/want to be. Then intentionally taking steps to move towards who you would like to be or know who you are as an individual. Being self-aware goes hand in hand with mindfulness because mindfulness can be used to enhance your self-awareness.
You may have heard of mindfulness on social media or seen something about it when people talk about yoga, or getting focused before a big event, or maybe you have never heard of it at all. Mindfulness according to psychology today is “a state of active, open attention on the present.” Essentially, as the definition stated, it is the ability to be present emotionally, mentally, and physically. Being present meaning that you are paying attention to your thoughts, how you feel and what you are experiencing physically in your body. Usually when one engages in mindfulness you take time to be silent or pay attention to what is going on around you and within you. This can sound like something that is a waste of time or that is not useful. But mindfulness gives you the ability to appreciate the present and what’s going on in the here and now. Frequently, especially in the age of social media we are torn between being in tune with our present environment and being sucked into the guise of multi-tasking. Before we realize it the moment with family or friends is gone and we have our pictures to remember the event, but we weren’t there experiencing those moments in their authentic form. Mindfulness also give you the ability to enhance your self-awareness. Part of mindfulness is acknowledging and thinking about your thoughts and feelings. “Why am I feeling this particular way?” “What am I currently thinking about and why?”
Self-Awareness and Mindfulness are major keys when we talk about living our best lives in 2018. We each need to take responsibility for our emotions and our emotional well-being. There is nothing wrong with expressing how we feel or wanting to let people know the full extent of our emotions but sometimes we can be hasty in how we express our emotions about why we feel a way about ourselves or people involved in our lives. Self-Awareness and Mindfulness combined potentially give us the ability to examine ourselves (If we are honest) in order to avoid unnecessary and stressful events or people in our lives along with how and why we decide to react in a manner that may not be helpful or progressive in certain situations. Ways that you can work on mindfulness and self-awareness? Take time in your week to do a self-check.
This can look like shutting off distractions and being silent with yourself for a few minutes. With this few minutes take time to reflect on what is going on with you in that moment. Give yourself the space to experience your thoughts and feelings fully. Mindfulness and self-awareness really come in handy when you are having discussions with others. Maybe you’re getting upset and instead of communicating effectively, you’re reacting intensely. Take some time and step away from that conversation and try to think about that present moment. Think about what you are feeling. Then maybe why are you feeling that way? What about that conversation or that person made you react in that way? If you are completely honest with yourself, you may be surprised with what you come to find. You then can communicate from a place of honesty and hopefully instead of reacting, you are progressively communicating.
Overall, mindfulness is a vehicle that can lead to increased self-awareness. Mindfulness is giving yourself the time and space to appreciate the present moment you are in an inwardly examine yourself and your environment for what it is. Self-Awareness is knowing and continuing to get to know who you are as an individual and how you act and respond to others. Let’s continue to work on and acknowledge our mental health because it plays a key role in accomplishing the things that we want to accomplish and moving forward in the goals that we want to achieve not only as individuals but as a culture.
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