Have you ever had that experience of finally “seeing” something and then…you can’t “un-see” it?! I’m not talking about walking in on your parents when you were a kid (whoops!).
Joking aside I’m talking about that shift that happens when you gain awareness. Whether it’s in your habits or how you’re relating to something, awareness is a powerful tool.
Awareness is like the sun, when it shines on things, they are transformed.-Thich Nhat Hanh
How do you increase your awareness?
Here are my 3 favourite ways to increase awareness:
1. Free Flow Writing
Free flow journal writing is a fabulous way to tap into what’s going on upstairs. Write without judgement or criticism, just let it flow!
Brene Brown talks about mindfulness as “noticing.” I love that simple definition. But how do you make it happen? Strategically build in cues to trigger you to notice. Wear a novel piece of jewellery that will remind you. Or put an alarm on your phone to bring you back to the moment and notice. Use post it notes and put them all over the place. Use your phone’s lock screen to give yourself a reminder. Every time you see or hear the cue, just notice.
Tracking is a double edged sword. I talk about the perils of it in my book, The Elephant in the Gym… but there are benefits too (which I also address). The biggest one is that tracking – the act of writing it down – is a profound awareness tool. You have to notice to write it. Most people think about tracking when it comes to eating or fitness activities. But there is so much more you can track! Track work activities to notice productivity. Track sleep quality and quantity to notice sleep habits. Track wins. Get into the practice of noticing what you are doing (hint: I bet you’re doing more than you think!). Track gratitude – yup. There it is! Notice the awesome things you’re doing already. Grow those!
Increasing your awareness is step one, remember what you do with this new information is up to you! Sometimes the best action is to simply be aware. Other times, this insight offers you the opportunity to shift. Either shift a habit, or how you’re relating to something. Use the information you’ve gathered powerfully to move yourself in the direction that feels right to you!