The more aware of yourself you are, the more in control you are when it comes to dealing with external circumstances, which in turn affect your success and path in life. Take note of these 4 exercises that will help you gain better control of yourself and give you a better sense of your emotions for better decision making habits:
1. The three why’s.
Before acting on a decision, ask yourself “Why?” Follow up your response with another “Why?” And then a third. If you can find three good reasons to pursue something, you’ll have clarity and be more confident in your actions.
Being self-aware means knowing your motives and determining whether they’re reasonable.
2. Expand your emotional vocabulary.
The philosopher Wittgenstein said, “The limits of my language means the limits of my world.”
Emotions create powerful physical and behavioral responses that are more complex than “happy” or “sad.” Putting your feelings into words has a therapeutic effect on your brain; if you’re unable to articulate how you feel, that can create stress. Here’s a great list of “feeling words” to help with labeling your emotions. Increase your emotional vocabulary with one new word each day.
3. Practice saying ‘no’ to yourself.
The ability to say “no” to yourself to put off short-term gratification for the long-term gain is an important life-skill. Like a muscle, it is strengthened with exercise. The more you practice saying “no” to small daily challenges, the better you can withstand major temptations.
There are plenty of daily temptations — social media, junk food, gossiping, Youtube. Make a goal of saying “no” to five different temptations each day.
4. Break visceral reactions.
A person without self-awareness runs on auto-pilot, and responds with knee-jerk reactions. Self-awareness allows you to assess situations objectively and rationally, without acting on biases and stereotypes.
Take a deep breath before you act, especially when a situation triggers anger or frustration. This gives you time to re-assess whether your response will be the best one.