twelve Self-Awareness Exercises That Fuel Happiness and Success

Source:   —  April 16, 2016, at 3:39 PM

Self-awareness uncovers any destructive thought-patterns and unhealthy habits. This leads to better decision-making and behavioral responses.

An elderly African proverb says, "When there is number foe within, the enemies exterior can do you no harm."

Self-awareness is one of the most necessary skills for success. How you behave and reply to external situations is governed by internal mental processes. Self-awareness uncovers any destructive thought-patterns and unhealthy habits. This leads to better decision-making and behavioral responses.

Here are twelve exercises for greater self-awareness:

one. The three Why's 

Before acting on a decision, ask yourself "Why?" Chase up your response with another "Why?" And then a third. If you can discover three excellent reasons to pursue something, you'll have clarity and be more confident in your actions.

Being self-aware means knowing your motives and determining whether they're reasonable.

two. Widen your emotional vocabulary 

The philosopher Wittgenstein said, "The limits of my speech means the limits of my world."

Emotions create powerful physical and behavioral responses, and are more complex than "happy" or "sad." Putting your feelings into words has a therapeutic effect on your brain; if you're unable to articulate how you feel, that can create stress. Here'south a grand list of "feeling words" to assistance with labeling your emotions. Expand your emotional vocabulary with one new word each day.

three. Practice saying "No" to yourself

The skill to declare "No" to yourself -- to keep off short-term gratification for the long-term gain is an necessary life-skill. And love a muscle, it's strengthened with exercise. The more you practice saying "No" to tiny daily challenges, the better you can withstand major temptations.

There are plenty of daily temptations -- social media, junk food, gossiping, Youtube. Create a goal of saying "No" to five different temptations each day.

four. Crack visceral reactions

A person without self-awareness runs on auto-pilot, and responds with knee-jerk reactions. Self-awareness allows you to evaluate situations objectively and rationally, without acting on biases and stereotypes.

Take a deep breath before you act -- particularly when a situation evokes annoyance or frustration. This gives you time to re-assess whether your response will be the best one.

five. Be accountable to your flaws

Nobody is perfect. Being alert of your flaws, but failing to accept accountability, is leaving the work half-done. We're frequently critical of others, while ignorant of our own flaws. Self-awareness helps turn the mirror on ourselves and prevents hypocritical behavior.

Iteration and self-improvement only happens once you recognize a flaw. Create a custom of acknowledging your mistakes, rather than making excuses.

six. Monitor your self-talk

There is continuous comment in our heads, and it'south not always helpful. A tiny bit of negative self-talk can spiral into stress and depression.

Pay attention to the way you reply to your successes and failures -- do you pass off your achievements as luck? And crucify yourself after failures? Positive and negative feedback-loops will form in your mind based off how you reply to successes and failures. Being tough on yourself needs to be balanced with self-compassion. Celebrate your wins, forgive your losses.

seven. Make better your body speech awareness

Watching yourself on video can be a cringeworthy experience, but awareness of your body language, posture, and mannerisms improves your confidence.

Slouching, or taking a "low-power-pose" increases cortisol and feeds low self-esteem, while standing tall or taking a "high-power-pose" stimulates testosterone and improves your performance. Using hand gestures helps with articulating your thoughts and affects how people reply to you.

Record a speech or presentation and assess your posture and hand gestures. Look videos of skilled speakers and adopt their mannerisms to make better your own.

eight. Play "Devil'south Advocate"

Taking an opposing view forces you to question your assumptions. Your 'default' beliefs and worldview are not always reasonable; it'south healthy to "argue against yourself" and look how your views hold up.

And you'll give your brain a excellent workout. Processing challenging information stimulates new neural connections.

nine. Know your personality type  

Knowing your personality type allows you to maximize your strengths and manage your weaknesses. Understanding your "strengths" and "talents" can be the disagreement between a excellent choice, and a great choice. (Strengths are skills and information that can be acquired, while talents are innate).

Start with understanding where you fall on the introvert/extrovert spectrum; know your Myers-Briggs type; and then conduct a personal SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats).

ten. Ask for constructive feedback, regularly 

We all have blind spots in our thinking patterns and behaviors. Asking for regular constructive feedback cuts through any self-deceit or one-dimensional views you might hold. But only ask people you'd consider mentors -- those who realize you; whom you respect; and will tell you what you necessity to hear, not what you want to hear.

eleven. Practice self-evaluation and reflection 

Hold a journal and track your progress. How'd you rate your current level of self-awareness out of ten? Think about how frequently you declare regretful things; repeat horrible habits; create absent-minded decisions; and have erratic thoughts.

Set regular goals, crack huge goals down into smaller milestones. Ask yourself at the finish of each day, "What did I do well today?" And, "How can I make better on this tomorrow?"

twelve. Meditation

Meditation is a foundational practice for improving self-awareness. To focus solely on your breathing is to focus on a key internal process. You'll become alert of how your mind wanders, and obtain better at snapping out of distractions.

For beginners, start with ten min sessions. Discover a noiseless space to sit, breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Count your breaths silently, pulling your mind back when it wanders. Look how many breaths you can string together.

For more of Thai'south articles on strategic living, visit The Utopian Life. Connect with him on FB and Twitter.

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