Changing your life all starts with awareness. Awareness of your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and actions.
Once you become conscious of these, it will become SO much easier to improve your life. You’ll understand how your thoughts CREATE your emotions, which in turn affect your habitual behaviors and actions in life.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. For right now we just need to focus on building awareness as the first baby step. This will create a great base for all personal development work you’ll do in the future.
So how do we build awareness? We practice watching our thoughts, feeling our emotions, and taking note of our actions.
Let’s break it down:
Meditation is the best way to become familiar with your thoughts and to start becoming more conscious of them. Many people think meditation is all about not thinking at all, but that’s not true. It’s about becoming aware of the thoughts entering and flowing around your head, and learning how to not get wrapped up in them.
P.S. – If meditation isn’t your thing (though trust me, it’s an enormous help and completely worth trying out – read here about my personal experience with it) you can still become aware of your thoughts.
Anytime you’re doing some normal daily activity that doesn’t require any deep thinking – like cleaning, showering, brushing your teeth, watching TV – notice if your mind is quiet or active during it. Are you paying attention to what you’re doing or is your mind thinking about the past or future? If you find it being active, try to catch and single out some of those thoughts and be aware that they are there. Don’t worry about what they are, just acknowledge what your brain is thinking about.
Hearing someone tell you to feel your emotions sounds totally corny, I KNOW. I never understood what it really meant until recently, but now I get it.
Our emotions are just vibrations in our bodies, physical sensations. Some of them feel great, some feel uncomfortable, and others feel just plain awful. When we can identify that an emotion is just a weird vibrating feeling in our body, nothing more than that, it makes them easier to handle.
So the next time you get upset, or happy, or frustrated, or excited, just take a second to tune into your body and notice the feeling. This will start to loosen you from the grip of being controlled constantly by your emotions.
Start paying attention to your habitual behaviors, aka things you do over and over again, and the actions you take (or don’t take) in your life.
Do you constantly try to start a diet and fail after the first 2 days? Do you find yourself watching Netflix every night and feeling bad about it? Are you constantly cancelling plans last minute? Have you been trying to start a business but never start? Are you drinking every night just out of boredom and nothing else to do?
Pay attention to your daily activities – what you do to avoid things you should be doing, what you do to procrastinate, what positive habits you have, what negative habits you have, etc. Don’t think too much on it but just start to notice your habits and behaviors.
It’s important too to just be AWARE, and not analytic, of your thoughts, emotions, and actions – stay away from analyzing them because that will just get your mind swirling and even more out of control.
The next step will be diving a little deeper into the connections between thoughts, feelings, actions, and results and that’s where you’ll be able to analyze things a bit and think more deeply.
For now, we just start with becoming more and more aware of ourself every day.
If you have any questions or insights on this, leave a thought below: