One of the most important skills or talents to cultivate in order to manage your stress is “Self-Awareness”.
Self-Awareness not in the sense of thinking about yourself a lot or looking at yourself in the mirror, but self-awareness as in being aware of whats going on inside your body, especially your emotions and your self-talk and how they are affecting your behavior, how you “are” in the world, or how you appear to others, and how you interact with other people in your life.
Many people operate on an almost unconscious basis in their everyday activities. We often get used to doing things in a certain way over and over, so we tend to “tune out” those activities and interactions with other people. If you’re not aware thatyou woke up feeling irritable or worried or feeling overloaded or overwhelmed with things to do, or if you had a fight with your neighbor or spouse and you haven’t dealt effectively and in a healthy manner with those emotions and thoughts, it’s going to show up in your interactions with other people, and you will probably end up saying or doing something that you will regret later and that may have some more serious negative consequences.
Consciousness involves more than self-awareness, because it’s awareness of your environment, including other people, and how they affect you and how you affect them, but it all starts with being aware of what’s going inside your head and your heart.
If you are happy, healthy, and maintaining balance in your life, it will show, and your interactions with others will be very positive and rewarding for both you and the individuals that you interact with on a daily basis. Similarly, if you lack self-awareness and you allow past negative events to influence your present, you are much more likely to be grumpy or sullen or taciturn or angry or just “moody” around other people and have a negative impact on them.
If they respond in kind to you and you are not aware of what you are doing or how you are coming across to other people, then you may think poorly of them, and may blame them for the feelings that you already had before you interacted with them.
You can use your self-awareness as one of your tools to manage stress more effectively. When you are challenged by how to manage stress in your life, you can take a moment to reflect on what’s in your heart at that time and what you are thinking about. What kind of self-talk or inner dialogue is going on inside? Are you holding onto something that you need to let go of?
Self-awareness is one of the first steps that you can take to better manage your stress because the last thing that you want to do if you’re feeling “stressed out” is to add to your feeling of stress by negatively impacting others and getting into arguments, hurting other people’s feelings, or developing misunderstandings that will further increase your own feelings of stress and tension, instead of helping to relieve them and restore a balance in your life.
Awareness of your environment and self-awareness are important talents to further develop as you learn how to manage stress better.
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