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Well-Being Tip: Settling into Self-Awareness

By The Healthy Minds Team

In this week’s Well-Being Tip, we explore how to tune into self-awareness and how it affects those around us.

Anxiety over Covid-19 is at the highest it’s been since winter, driven by the new wave of Delta variant concerns according to a new poll. Between going back to school, new mask mandates, and pandemic fatigue in general – keeping up support for one’s well-being may feel like a burden.

Though you may feel exhausted while trying to keep up with your mental health – our state of mind directly affects the people around us, and letting go of our self-care can cause harm to our relationships. Intentionally being aware of your mood and reframing a situation can save you from misunderstandings and hurt feelings – and can also help the people around you spread more kindness.

This week’s tip is to remain vigilant in your self awareness. Stress is high and tempers are flaring – so tuning in to your mood several times a day can help stave off emotional reactivity. Here’s how.

  • Wake up with awareness. In those first minutes of light in the morning you have an opportunity to check in with your state of mind and help frame perspective for the rest of the day. As you open your eyes, do a slow body and mind scan. Scan your body for areas of tension, pain, or comfort. Notice your scalp to your toes. Next, scan your mind. How are you feeling? Try to not jump straight to your to-do list, but instead just be with your state of mind. 

  • Check in with “mini-emotions” throughout the day. It only takes 30 seconds to bring attention to the building blocks of emotion. We’re not trying to change them, we’re just noticing them and how they shape how we feel and how we see things in the present moment. This is something you can do as you start to feel irritation rising, or before you join a meeting. Ask yourself, what am I noticing right now?  It could be something you see or hear. It could be a thought or memory. And with a sense of curiosity, can you notice a subtle sense of liking or not liking this experience? Or maybe it just feels kind of neutral. Whatever you are noticing is fine. Remember we aren’t trying to have a particular experience, rather being curious about aspects of our experience that often go unnoticed.  

  • Close the day with reflection. By noticing your feelings throughout the day, you are training your mind to be more present, calm, and focused. As you go to bed for the night, can you reflect how this worked throughout the day? What happened after you noticed your state of mind? How did your behavior change or not? How were your interactions with others? This reflection can reinforce your behavior and make it easier to create a habit out of your “mood awareness.”

Even when you don’t have the energy for self-care, you can always make space for noticing your state of mind. Just noticing the mentality that you bring to interactions can be a benefit to both you and your family, friends, and colleagues. Asking yourself what thoughts, emotions, and feelings are shaping your experience will provide insight into how you are seeing the world and the people around you. While it won’t stop the Covid-19 rollercoaster of anxiety, it will pause it – giving you space to ensure your actions don’t exacerbate an already stressful situation. Good luck.

Get more practices and tips by downloading the Healthy Minds Program App, freely available thanks to the generosity of our donors wherever you get your apps. Dive deeper into the Healthy Minds Framework for Well-Being by registering for our upcoming Masterclass: Founders Edition.

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