Just listen to yourself! Five habits to grow self-awareness and happiness. Part Two.

In Part One of this post, I explained why self-awareness is essential for personal development. Self-awareness means you can support yourself, make good decisions and ultimately lead a happier and more fufilling life.

These might be potentially life-changing decisions such as:

Should I look for a new job?

or they may be smaller decisions that are essential for your wellbeing; things like

I’m feeling really exhausted and need to get some rest.

Self-awareness is a habit to be cultivated.

Becoming more self-aware is all about listening to yourself.

When you listen well, you open up a deeper channel of communication. You become aware of information from:

  • your body: maybe you have a tight feeling around the eyes or butterflies in your stomach
  • your thoughts: those thoughts that arise unannounced, often when you are not thinking about the issue, or that maybe float into your mind when you are relaxed, out walking or gently waking from sleep. ( Find out why these thoughts are really useful  in another post  here )
  • your feelings:  the ones that emerge if you let them. Maybe the feelings that you don’t normally allow yourself to have, the ones that you rush to suppress. The feelings that others tell you that you shouldn’t have.


Slow down, be curious and learn!

When we are busy or stressed, it’s hard to see the wood for the trees. You need to develop the ability to take a step back, to step out of the situation,  and observe yourself, as if you were looking at yourself from the outside. This requires an attitude of open-mindedness and patience. The suggestions below will help you.

Five suggestions to get you started:

  1. Learn a basic mindfulness exercise. Establish a daily routine where you sit for 10 minutes (yes, I know everyone is banging on about mindfulness at the moment. That’s because it works!) This gives you a regular opportunity to check in with how you feel, both physically and emotionally.
  2. Create mini-mindfulness moments throughout the day. Walk away from your work, look out of the window, take a few deeper breaths and ask yourself  – as if you were looking on at yourself  – How am I feeling? Repeat three times a day.
  3. Find a peaceful place outdoors within easy walking distance of work or home. Identify a particular spot that appeals to you. It can be a restful park bench, a place with an inspiring view, a bridge over a river. Repeat this walk once or twice each week. Each time you reach your particular spot, again stop and ask yourself how you are.  Think back over the past few days and reflect on how life has been. Then ask the question: What’s really important to me?
  4. Notice your dreams. Both your sleeping dreams and the day-dreams. Notice what you are drawn to when you look in shop windows or read the colour supplements. Notice the aspects of other people’s lives that inspire you or excite envy. What’s the dream? What attracts you? What colours, sights, sounds, places, people? Just start noticing.
  5. Start a journal. You don’t need to complete it every day but do make a note of significant thoughts, feelings and insights.


When you first start, you may find this a bit contrived. You may be tempted to give up if it doesn’t immediately deliver awe-inspiring Aha moments.

But persevere and you’ll be amazed at what you find. Trust these insights and they will lead to greater happiness and fulfilment.

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