Have you ever thought about how important self-awareness is for everyday success? Becoming aware of your habitual emotions allows you to take control of them and make a choice in your emotion.
For example, you may have high workload and feel stressed, this may evoke the emotion of resentment, which may trigger silent withdrawal, “can’t you see I’m busy?” But others can’t know that you’re feeling resentment and they will respond to the withdrawal and feel ignored and rejected. The potential consequences are that relationships suffer, leading to more stress.
Good self-awareness allows you to control yourself in any situation and get good results in your relationships. But many of us are poor at recognising the emotions we are experiencing. So it is difficult for us to appreciate the effect these emotions have on our behaviour.
Start improving your self-awareness now
Take a moment now to notice what you are feeling. What emotion(s) are you experiencing and what effect is it having on you? Is the effect positive, neutral or negative? You can choose to stay with this emotion or change it. If you want to change it, what will you replace it with? What do you have to think or do to make that change?
Reflect and learn
Here is a reflective process that you can use to build self-awareness and to self-manage:
- Think about a typical task that you regularly do, and jot down the emotion that you most often associate with that task.
- Think about a hobby or interest of yours, take a moment to relive the last time you were engaged in this hobby or interest, what emotion do you associate with that? Jot that down.
- Reflect on whether the emotion is helping or hindering you in each situation.
- If the emotion is hindering, what emotion you could replace it with? What would you have to think or do to make it possible to experience the more positive emotion while doing that task?
- Take action! Use the new emotion next time you are doing the task and notice the effect.
Tip on changing how you feel
Our physiology is linked with our emotions. When a person is feeling down, they often look down and hunch their shoulders – the whole body language is down. The facial expression may be a frown and lips closed and angled down. The opposite body language tells you a person is feeling good and confident – their head is up, shoulders back and body relaxed and alert, they are smiling and the eyes are shining.
So, if emotion is shown in the body, then you can use your body to change your emotion. After all you are in control of your body, aren’t you?
If you want to feel positive, adopt the body postures you would normally have when you are feeling good and positive – head up, look up, smile, shoulders relaxed, alertness in the body …. Hold this position for a minute or two at least and notice the effect on your emotions. You will find the emotions start to correspond with the body. It is impossible to feel down, when you are holding a happy body position and facial expression.
Build your self-awareness by taking time to notice what you are feeling and how your body is positioned. Pay particular attention to the helpful emotions and physiology. Practice using the helpful emotion with tasks and situations that would normally generate unhelpful emotions and notice the difference in your behaviour and the effect this has on you and on others.
Develop the self-awareness habit
Make this your new habit – self-awareness allows you to take control and responsibility for your behaviour. You have the power to make positive choices and to influence others. Lead well and others will want to follow you.
If you would like to discuss this more or share your own experiences, please leave a comment below or contact Amanda directly.