The month of September has been officially dubbed 'Self Awareness Month', among other things. I, for one, think that this is a great observance to celebrate! Self-awareness isn't always easy to achieve--it takes some real commitment to look at parts of yourself that you may not want to see--but the effort is well worth it in terms of opportunities for personal growth and happiness. Self-awareness is a nice focus for stress management as well, for the following reasons:
- Self-awareness leads to a better understanding of what your particular stressors are. When you know what is stressing you, you're more able to manage these stressors. If you're overwhelmed much of the time and don't know why, it's difficult to begin to identify what changes might help; through self-awareness, causes of stress may be better identified, and solutions may be more easily found.
- Self-awareness can also lead to a recognition of what you may be doing to contribute to your own stress. For example, if you find yourself complaining and blaming more often than looking for solutions and taking responsibility for circumstances in your life, this may lead to greater levels of stress. If you can catch and identify self-sabotaging thought patterns and behaviors, you can change them more easily.
- Self-awareness can lead to stronger relationships, which can help with stress relief. Think about it--if you're always seeing other people as 'the problem', you may feel like a victim in your relationships, or you may habitually alienate others; if you are able to look at your patterns and take responsibility for them, you have more power in your own life.
For today, to take steps toward self-awareness, I encourage you to become a bit of an observer in your life. Notice your thought patterns--are you a habitually negative or positive thinker? Do you see possibilities, or just reasons why something won't work? Do you look for the best in others, or the worst? How about in yourself?
I also invite you to notice your lifestyle and behavior patterns. Are you too busy? If so, is everything in your schedule absolutely necessary? Do you do things to nurture yourself, or do you focus primarily on others, or on work? What are the best parts of your day?
The following resources can help with self-awareness. See which ones speak to you, and notice what you learn about yourself. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.
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