We often hear the word “awareness” being mentioned in numerous meditation talks and mindfulness conversations. Those who don’t fully understand this term loosely interpret it to mean “being mentally alert.” However, the questions still linger in their minds: what does awareness mean? What is self awareness?
In a general sense, awareness is simply the act of paying attention to the present, and is therefore synonymous with mindfulness practice. If you’re walking on the street, for instance, your mind should focus on this activity. You should pay attention to the scents, sights and sounds that surround you as you walk. If you’re in a conversation with someone, your mind shouldn’t wander off. Instead, you should focus on and appreciate enjoy each moment of the discussion, whether good or bad.
In the Mindworks: Guided Meditation App, we present mindfulness and awareness as two distinct yet related practices, that work together like the wings of a bird. For further information, check out our blog post here.
What is Self Awareness?
You might be wondering why self awareness meaning is so important for meditators. Well, it forms the very core of this practice. Individuals who start meditating develop self-awareness over time. They begin to notice their feelings, thoughts and physical sensations more clearly and vividly. They also start noticing some subtle issues within their character such as how they react to different things, their behaviors and habits. Self-awareness allows you to look at yourself in a different, more honest light. You also unearth deep-seated emotions that you didn’t think existed.
Thanks to our overly busy lifestyles, our stress and anxiety levels have increased significantly. Rather than acknowledge these feelings and take the appropriate steps to alleviate them, we often choose to pretend that they don’t exist. People who lack self-awareness are able to repress and ignore feelings of stress, rage, anxiety and even depression. On the surface, their lives seem exquisite. But a little digging would reveal something totally different. Some people describe feeling an unpleasant sensation tingling within the chest or resting at the pit of their stomachs. Others also explain feeling unhappy and dissatisfied for no reason. To such individuals, learning what is self awareness becomes a crucial step towards their recovery.
How Do You Practice Self-Awareness?
Life can be a hard nut to crack if you don’t learn self awareness, meaning you’ll have a difficult time maneuvering through challenges if you’re not endowed with this simple art. Here are some tips to developing self-awareness:
- Mindfully acknowledge your emotions
Our society teaches us to rely on our rational thoughts when making decisions, keeping our feelings away from the entire decision-making process. However, our feelings naturally advocate for our ideals. Shutting them out throws us off balance when making decisions. It’s wise to integrate your feelings with your rational thought when making any decision. Explore what you feel and listen to your gut. If your rational thought is not in sync with your gut, don’t give the green light just yet.
- Track down your feelings
It might seem trite, but recording your feelings in a journal or on your phone can help you develop self-awareness. After all, what does awareness mean if there is no progress? Start noticing the trends and patterns. This simple exercise will allow you to fully define your values, your motivations, your ideals and your purpose. You will also find out what’s really holding you back from doing the work you are extremely passionate about. Your subconscious mind knows what you desire even before you write it down. Monitoring your emotions is an effective way of communicating with your subconscious and describing what you really want.
- Expand your self-awareness beyond your feelings
Self-awareness involves more than just paying attentions to your emotions and feelings – it involves living in the present moment. Focus more on those areas that contribute largely to designing your ideal world. Start tracking down things that motivate you as well as those which drain your energy. Identify your daily peak performance period. This refers to the total hours each day that you’re most focused, creative and energized. Rather than wondering what is self awareness, strive to do things that improve your awareness.
Now that we’ve debunked the mysterious self awareness meaning, it’s time you started implementing the few tips described above. You’ll feel happier and calmer in no time. Check out the Mindworks: Guided Meditation App for more information on how to develop self-awareness.