Self-awareness refers to your ability to understand how your emotions, thoughts, and actions affect you, the people around you, and the world in general. Here are two self-awareness exercises to help you start getting to know yourself better:
The Writing about an Emotion Exercise
- Sit in a comfortable, quiet area with paper and pen and think of some emotion that pops up in your life and causes you some kind of discomfort.
- Name the emotion by using one of these four words: happiness, sadness, anger, fear.
- Once you've named the emotion write it down.
- Under the emotion write down three undesirable results that emotion has created in your life.
- After each result you've written, jot down the actual results you'd like to see, the positive side of things.
- Once you have the positives written down, pick one of the positives you'd like to work on and decide on one small thing you can do to make it happen.
- Keep taking small actions to reach the positive result you would like.
This exercise works by encouraging you to focus consciously on what emotions you feel and to direct them in a positive direction instead of letting them run your life. The idea is to repeat this exercise for any emotion that is causing you discomfort. It builds self-awareness by asking you to carefully examine what you feel. At first, it will seem hard but, with practice, you'll get good at repeating these steps.
The What I Did Exercise
- Think of a time when you did something that hurt someone, write it down.
- Write down how you feel about hurting that person.
- Write down what they might have felt.
- Write down ten positive things you could have done instead.
- Picture the the scenario in your mind again and insert each of the alternatives into the scenario. Repeat the process through all ten positive alternatives.
- Write down what you would do differently if that kind of situation arose in your life again.
This exercise encourages you to examine some action you did in the past that hurt another person and think about what you might have done differently. It raises your self-awareness by asking you to consider what you did and provide a positive alternative. It also asks you to think about other people's perspectives and how they might have seen the event.
Try doing these two exercises a couple of times a week until they seem second nature. The idea is to continue becoming more self-aware by carefully examining what you feel, think, and do.