When we experience increased awareness, we can make conscious actions as opposed to habitual reactions. Here are five tips on how to increase your awareness.
1. Breathe, consciously. Start paying attention to your breath regularly, you may find that you hold your breath quite often! By following our breath, we ground ourselves in the present moment.
2. Observe your emotions. Usually, we are not aware of our emotions until they are intense. Do an emotional check-in regularly. Notice which emotions linger and which ones are more transient. Attend to when certain emotions arise.
3. Take note of your triggers. Identify the people and or situations that trigger an emotional reaction in you. By identifying your triggers, you experience increased understanding and create the capacity to have more control over your actions. Emotional responses are not problematic in and of themselves, instead they become problematic when we unconsciously allow them to influence our behaviors. Knowing what triggers you allows you to say “oh, I’m being triggered, let me breathe and ground myself.” By saying this, you create the space to make an informed response as opposed to a habitual reaction.
4. Listen to your body. Our bodies, minds, and spirits are all interconnected. By being mindful of our bodies, we become more in tune with our minds and souls. Our bodies harbor most of our stress. Explore your entire body and the sensations that arise. Notice where you hold anger or sadness. Where in your body do you hold resentment? Where is joy?
5. Lastly, sit with urges and slight discomfort and allow them to guide you. This one sounds the most uncomfortable but it will likely be the most helpful. All emotions, thoughts, and urges are temporary. They will leave naturally if we allow them to. It is our resistance to the experience of them that makes them linger. The next time you get an urge to slip into a habitual behavior, watch the urge.
Notice the thoughts that the urge produces. Note when the urge arises, the intensity, and where it is manifesting in your body. Attend to the nature of the urge. Does the urge stay intense for a while or does it fluctuate in intensity? Treat the urge as a temporary visitor in your home. Thank the urge for coming to visit you, it is teaching you about yourself. You may find this to be quite challenging but if you stick with it, you will begin to see the temporary nature of urges. You will also learn so much about yourself, ultimately allowing you more ability to act consciously.
Mahalo for reading! May you experience infinite peace & blessings!
*This is a photo of a sunset on Oahu, taken 10/2013