7 Tips for Developing Awareness

Written by Violaine Guéritault, Ph.D.

#1 – Practice Mindfulness

The starting point is undoubtedly the practice of Mindfulness. Mindfulness will help you develop a wide range of skills, including one of the greatest importance: awareness. Awareness is the key because it will allow you to become aware of your own emotions. And the moment you become aware of them you can learn to relate to them in a more positive and constructive manner.

#2 –Tune in to how you feel

Practice checking in with yourself and tuning in to how you feel in various situations throughout your day. Do you feel excited or hopeful about a new project, or do you feel sad and frustrated over a disagreement with a friend? Learn to tune in to the emotions you experience in your day. This will strengthen your ability to be aware of what goes on inside and outside of you.

#3 – Make noticing your emotions a habit

Once you’ve become aware of an emotion, try to make noticing it a regular habit. It’s important that you learn that it’s all about noticing and observing your emotions, not judging them.Mindfulness will help you practice being a mere observer, capable of withholding judgment and interpretations such as “this is good” or “this is bad.” Then practice naming that emotion. Finally, notice that each emotion passes and makes room for the next experience. This will teach you to go with the flow of things and to appreciate the inner peace that comes with this form of acceptance.

#4 – Share your feelings

Share your feelings with the people you trust and care most about and who are closest to you. This will help you learn to put your feelings into words. The ability to express your emotions verbally is a very important skill that will allow you to always find the support you need, when you need it the most.

#5 – Be a careful observer

Practice noticing emotions in others and how their emotions make you feel. This will train you to become a more careful observer and will develop your empathy which is a beautiful and very valuable skill.

#6 – Be kind to yourself

Be kind to yourself and take good care of yourself by finding an activity that helps you feel better in the moment: talk to a good friend you know will support you, go for a run or a walk in nature if possible, create something, lie down with your eyes closed and listen to soothing and calming music, or watch an uplifting movie. This list is not exhaustive. Find your own calming and appeasing activity that will remind you how important it is to be kind to yourself.

#7 – Breathe, relax, and most importantly, learn to meditate

If despite all your efforts, you get to a point when you feel totally overwhelmed by your emotions, then it is time for you to reach out for help. You can talk to a trusted adult, parent, or family member and ask them for support. You can also choose to talk to your guidance counselor, your school psychologist, a social worker or find a therapist who will listen to you, understand you, support you and help you through this difficult time. Never hesitate to ask for help. Always remember that reaching out for help is the greatest gift of self-compassion you can give yourself, a gift that you fully deserve.