From an early age, I often spent time jotting down feelings, musings, and motivations about myself and others. Being self-aware was my way to feel more empowered in a household that was often chaotic.

Writing helped me make sense of my world, and at the same time, it opened the door to self-discovery and self-awareness.

Self-awareness is about knowing and understanding who we are. This encompasses being mindful of our personality, strengths, weaknesses, passions, and desires. It’s also about being able to identify what makes us unique.

By the time we get to our sixth decade, most of us are more or less self-aware, but sometimes it’s a good idea to check in with our self-awareness techniques.

Being self-aware is very important in all stages of life. In my book Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life, I devoted an entire chapter to the subject. Here are some techniques to increase your self-awareness:

Setting Intentions

Setting intentions involves focusing your thoughts on what you want to bring about, change, or manifest in your life. The next step is to surrender to the process.

Perhaps your intention is to write a novel and your plan is to work two hours every morning. Then one day your friend calls, asking you to go shopping with her, but you decline and possibly reschedule because of your intention to write.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation encourages you to focus on feelings, experiences, and internal and external processes in a nonjudgmental manner. It’s also about being fully present in the moment and being more aware of yourself, others, and your environment.

It’s also about paying attention to the thoughts racing through your mind without obsessing over them. Meditation is one of the best ways to increase self-awareness, calm your mind and body, and connect with what is happening around you.

There are many ways to meditate, and most of them are practiced while seated, but if movement is easier for you, then you can meditate while walking. Most meditations focus on the breath, a mantra, or music.

Creative Visualization

When you practice creative visualization, you close your eyes and use your imagination to manifest what you want in life. This can include satisfying relationships, physical or mental health, financial security, and inner peace and harmony.

For some people, it’s an effective way to deal with psychological or physical wounds because it offers them a way to cope. It can also open people up to new creative energies and increase self-awareness.

Self-Hypnosis

Hypnosis works by altering the triggers in the brain. It has many applications and is often used to minimize self-sabotage issues such as weight gain, fears, and addictions. Its main goal is to increase self-awareness.

While some people might choose to practice self-hypnosis, it’s a good idea to learn the technique from a trained hypnotherapist and then graduate to doing it yourself.

Breath Work

Obviously, we cannot live without breathing. The first thing we do when we’re born is take a breath, and the last thing we do before we die is take a breath. However, most of us take breathing for granted.

To maintain a sense of optimal well-being and health, it’s a good idea to be conscious of your breath because it helps you become more aware of your body.

One way to bring awareness to your breath is to breathe in for a count of seven, exhale for a count of seven, and then hold your breath for a count of seven. Repeat several times.

Recalling Your Dreams

Our dreams are mirrors or doorways into our unconscious minds and our inner worlds. Sometimes they offer us guidance, self-discovery, and growth; and sometimes they can aid in healing.

Our dreams can make offerings to our creative process and help us make decisions and solve problems. Some people claim that their dreams guide them in their waking lives.

To better recall your dreams, before you fall asleep make an intention to remember them. Then, upon waking up, write down everything you remember about your dreams in a journal you keep at your bedside table. Try to record all your images and feelings.

Knowing Your Shadow Side

Carl Jung introduced the idea that we all have a shadow side, which is the unconscious part of ourselves usually hidden from our immediate awareness. Because the shadow is composed of impulses that society views as unacceptable, our conscious minds don’t want to claim their ownership.

Jung said that one of the best ways to understand our shadow qualities is to think about what irritates us most in other people. These might be a sign of our own shadow. Bringing our shadow side into the light is another way to foster self-awareness.

Do you think you are self-aware? What makes you think so? Are you using techniques that help you increase and maintain your self-awareness? What are they? Which techniques help you the most? Please engage in the conversation!

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