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How to Develop, Improve, and Cultivate Self-Awareness to Level Up Your Life

Self-awareness is the foundation of conscious living. When you are self-aware, you can focus on yourself and how your thoughts, emotions, and actions align with your beliefs and values. Self-awareness helps you have clarity, intention, and confidence in your interactions with others and gives you the power to influence your desired outcomes. If you are not self-aware, you live by default and not by design.

A study by the National Institute of Health found that self-aware people tend to have a more positive self-image, self-esteem, and empathy and have better communication skills. These positive characteristics can lead them to improved quality of life. In other words, they feel good, satisfied, happy, and joyful.

The key to developing self-awareness is to do it as an outside observer and focus on the reasons underlying your emotions instead of how your emotions feel. It is essential to notice, acknowledge your emotions, learn from them, and release them.

More Awareness = More Freedom

These are the three actionable steps I use to develop, improve and cultivate my self-awareness.

1- Meditation

Meditation is a way of reducing stress, improving our mood, and slowing down. It makes us pause and be present instead of acting on impulses because we have time to think about what is happening in our life and get clarity on what it is needed to be done.

Ideally, meditation should be done at the beginning of the day because it sets the tone for the rest of the day by enhancing your ability to stay focused. Try to set aside from 10 to 20 minutes each morning. You can start with 5 minutes and work your way up.

2- Reflective Journaling

Reflective journaling is the practice of documenting your experience and your interpretation of those experiences. When journaling, you can reflect on your day, your behaviors, and your choices, which makes you accountable and more self-aware. It gives you better understanding of yourself, your thoughts, and what triggers your emotions. This information can help you make more informed decisions that lead to a more conscious and intentional living.

Ideally, reflective journaling should be done at the end of the day because your experiences from the day are still fresh on your mind. If this is your first time doing it, here are a few ideas for what to write about; thoughts, feelings, emotions, reactions, behaviors, personal values, and beliefs.

3- Outside Feedback

This is the most challenging step because it doesn't depend exclusively on you; you need an outside perspective from a trusted friend, family member, therapist, or coach. When asking for help, you can let them know you are trying to develop your self-awareness and will appreciate their honest feedback.

Remember that you are trying to level up your life by becoming more self-aware, and to achieve that, you need to accept that you have strengths and weaknesses and that the best way to grow is to acknowledge those weaknesses and work on improving them. It is never easy to hear them from someone else but try to be open-minded and not become defensive. Absorb the information and consider how their feedback compares to what you think about yourself.

These are some questions you can ask:

  • What are my strengths?

  • When am I at my best?

  • What is something I could improve?

  • If you had to describe me to someone that doesn't know me, how would you describe me?

  • What are my weaknesses?

Becoming self-aware is an ongoing journey that requires effort, patience, and repetition. The key to developing self-awareness is to observe yourself constantly. It's essential to be present and attentive to your thoughts and physical sensations, even though it may be difficult due to our hectic lifestyles. However, it's crucial to remember the positive impact that self-awareness can have on your life and those around you.

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” – Carl Jung.

Strategy: To jump-start your journey to self-awareness, set up a reminder on your phone to take 1-minute deep breathing breaks at least three times a day. This would give you time to unwind and check in with yourself. Below is an easy breathing exercise you can practice.

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