More Self Awareness Exercises
Self awareness exercises can be a useful tool in managing stress and creating dynamic living. Practice them regularly and you will notice the difference.
Do you believe that body and mind are connected? These days most people do, despite the fact that our health care system likes to separate them out a lot of the time. To me, whatever happens physically, has an immediate affect on what happens emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The reverse is also true.
To effectively manage stress and go beyond stress management to a state of dynamic living, we need to become more aware. Awareness is the key that unlocks the door to change.
It is also difficult to become aware from just "changing your mind" or being "willfully different". Old habits die hard and if we spend most of our day in a state of limited or non-awareness, chances are it won't shift much from just telling ourselves we are going to be more attentive.
We build our awareness muscle by doing self awareness exercises, and to me, the best way to do that is by using our bodies as the anchor. It's just a lot easier and because of the connection between body and mind, as we become more aware physically, we become more aware in all aspects of our being. You'll notice the connection too as you practice.
So here are a few simple self awareness exercises that I have used myself and want to share with you. As simple and corny as they might seem at first when you read them, they work. Trust me!
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. This morning I did this in the kitchen while making breakfast. Every time I picked something up - a knife, a plate, a pan and every time I touched something - the door of the refrigerator, a tap - I focused in on the immediate experience of it. What it felt like, how I felt as I 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. Noticing 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.
Let me know what happens.