ownGauging and understanding your own mental health is very important. The knowledge you get from your own self-understanding helps you make better decisions in your life.
This holds true for your career, your personal life, or how you interact with other people.
But if you’ve been feeling out of sorts or off-kilter lately and finding it’s a struggle to maintain your mental health, it’s time to start responding to those inner nudges.
Self-awareness is a fundamental part of being able to live your life with meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. Plus, self-awareness can cue you in on your own mental state.
Here’s how you can practice more self-awareness to gauge what’s really going on inside you.
The Importance of Self-Awareness
First, it’s vital to know why self-awareness is important in your everyday life.
More than anything, it wards off stress and anxiety by using familiarity as a guide. In other words, you know how you function in various life situations. And warding off stress and anxiety has great benefits as they can lead to weakening your immune system if left untreated.
For example, let’s say that you’re traveling by plane. You know that flying in the past has caused anxiety for you.
So, you pull out your bag of tricks for coping with flying. You breathe more regularly and whisper a soothing affirmation to yourself. Soon, you start to feel calm again and are able to settle in for the flight ahead.
Without self-awareness in this particular situation, you’d likely be on edge and panicky for the whole trip.
How to Develop Self-Awareness
Self-awareness is gained by a four-part process, which includes:
- Experience. Participating or engaging in an activity that challenges you.
- Reflection. After the activity is over, considering what happened and how you did.
- Decision-making. If necessary, choosing to do something different next time.
- Implementation. Following through with the decision you made.
Even when you don’t realize it, this process happens to you all the time.
For example, when you first traveled to work, you probably had several options and routes available. Through trial and error, you were able to determine the best route, mode of travel, and time to leave.
You can use this simple process for promoting self-awareness as well.
Using Self-Awareness to Gauge Your Mental Health
Once you’ve had some practice developing self-awareness, take that same process and apply it to your mental health.
Consider a time when you became angry and upset. Trace backward by reflecting on what happened in that experience.
Think about who or what was involved in the situation. Did you have a recent breakup or learn of difficult news? Had you slept poorly the night before? Were you ill?
After thinking through everything involved, imagine how the situation could have played out differently if some variables were adjusted. Then implement a new tactic to better cope with similar situations.
Self-Awareness and the Big Picture
Self-awareness is not only useful for day-to-day situations, but it’s also crucial for understanding the big picture. And how your mental health fits into that picture.
Through your experiences, you have the capacity to develop an understanding of “how you tick.”
For example, using self-awareness you can come to discover why you feel fatigued or “stuck” all the time.
This may help you make the connection that maybe you’re struggling with a mental condition rather than just feeling bummed out or going through a phase.
And this understanding empowers you to make appropriate changes in your life.
Keeping an Open Mind
The value of self-awareness is that it requires you to have an open mind toward your own mental health and that of your family’s mental health history, which may give you clues about why you are the way you are. This also means being receptive to the others’ observations and reflecting on them.
If your partner says you’ve been irritable and grumpy more than usual, self-awareness allows you to be more open to that feedback.
The same goes if you’re working with a therapist, listening to their thoughts and observations.
Ultimately, the benefit of self-awareness is that it allows you to make positive choices in your life. This includes your mental health.
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By developing your self-awareness you can more accurately assess your mental health so you can get the help you need to get back into balance. At Blue Boat Counseling, we specialize in anxiety counseling, depression treatment and marriage counseling. If you decide you’re in need of a high quality counseling practice in the Columbus, OH area, please reach out and contact Blue Boat Counseling today. Our skilled mental health therapists can help you find the balance you’re looking for and help you be you.