As we discussed last week Emotional Awareness is an important skill for creating the life you want. Emotional Awareness is challenging for us in western culture which has a heavy emphasis on smarts, image and toughness. While being smart is important it is certainly not the whole picture.
Emotional Awareness, paying attention to what is going on in our bodies not just in our heads, to what we are feeling, is the the key to reducing stress, improving your communication skills, building closer relationships, and stimulating your personal growth and development.
Here are six ways to develop your Emotional Awareness.
- Pay attention to how often you use the word “think”. Our words are a reflection of what is going on inside and often a trigger for behavior. How often do you ask others what they think about something when you really want to know how they feel?
- When we are upset we tend to think about what to do or make arguments for what we are feeling. However, we often do not identify what we are feeling or what triggered it. When you are upset, try to catch yourself. Before you start rationalizing the feeling ask yourself what you are feeling. Use Plutchick’s chart of emotions from the last post and check. //www.fractal.org/Bewustzijns-Besturings-Model/Nature-of-emotions.htm
- Once you are aware of your emotion, try to discover what triggered the emotion. Don’t assume, really check. Articulate what you are feeling to yourself or someone else. Avoid the rationalizing urge, you might be rationalizing if you use the word “because”, try “when” instead. For example: I felt sad because “when” he didn’t call. This may help you to get deeper into the issue; “because” I love him so much (a much different perspective).
- The more often you are able to identify the feeling you are having without rationalizing the more proficient you will become at Emotional Awareness.
- Try using your Emotional Awareness to communicate better. Instead of telling people what to do, or what they “should” do, try sharing how you feel, and what you want. Ask others how they feel and what they want. This leads to deeper discussions. Avoid projecting feelings on to others by telling them what they feel, just ask. You might be surprised by what you learn.
- Develop an Awareness Practice. Journaling, yoga, meditating, periodic “breaks” during the day to feel your emotions, breath work, or any practice that lets you settle out of your head and in to your body will help you develop Emotional Awareness.
Emotional Awareness is a skill that for many of us has been dormant or under emphasized. The only way to develop it is to practice. Here is the cool thing about practicing Emotional Awareness; it leads to lots of “ah ha” moments. Now you can understand why you get so angry, or why you procrastinate or try to control or feel distant from your spouse or hate your boss or ….