Self-awareness exercises - from stress reactivity mode to responsiveness mode
Self-awareness refers to how well you know yourself – your stress responses and reactions – accepting responsibility for yourself and your actions – knowing what is in your control and what isn’t - habits (do you live in present and future, or the past?), behavior/though/emotion triggers and patterns. etc.
Self-awareness can help you to notice when you are becoming stressed, which in turn make you better able to calm down before your reaction builds to an unmanageable level. You will be able to switch from unhealthy stress reactivity mode to healthy stress responsiveness mode.
I encourage you to become a bit of an observer in your life. We all get caught up in the busy-ness of life. Take time each day to be in the here now.
1. Spend 3 minutes at various times during the day becoming acutely aware of every physical movement you make and noticing what happens as you do. While in the kitchen making breakfast, every time you pick something up - a knife, a plate, a pan and every time you touch something - the door of the refrigerator, a tap - focus on the immediate experience of it. What it felt like, how you felt as you made contact. No analysis, no stories, just pure immediate physical sensation moment by moment. Sure it slows down the process of getting breakfast, so if you are in a hurry you might need to slow down. It will cost you an extra minute or two in every three but what you'll be amazed at what you gain.
2. Hold your tooth brush in your non-dominant hand as you brush and notice what happens. Again it will take a little more time but will bring a lot more awareness to the process. Follow the rules - no analysis, no stories, just pure awareness moment to moment. Try it while shaving too. A little more edgy and it works even better to bring you into the moment.
3. Notice people. We all people watch. Don't stop but try it differently. Most time we look at someone and immediately start the mental stories going about the person, notice it and stop. Instead try to just look at someone with complete openness - no story. Just notice the person and experience the noticing.
4. Change your driving habits. A self-awareness exercise that is also good for road rage. Give yourself an extra 10 minutes to get where you are going and drive slower or take a different route. Notice what happens. Be particularly aware of your feelings and sensations in your body as you deliberately slow down, take more time to be present to the act of driving, and notice more things along the way. Some folks find this one difficult. If you do, it was meant for you.
5. Spend a day when you give a deliberate and full and appropriate greeting to every person in your life that you come in contact with for the first time that day. As self-awareness exercises go, this one is tough but try it anyway. If it's a stranger it might be a smile and a "hello". A co-worker might get a handshake or a pat on the back with a smile and greeting. (Physical contact is preferred if it is appropriate). A friend or relative might get a hug and genuine wish for a good day. Remember "deliberate, full and appropriate" are the keywords here. Notice what happens - particularly to you but also to them. No explanations needed, not stories and no analysis - just noticing.
Ready for much more?
You are welcome to join my mindful stop stress eating program.