A very very happy Sunday to my wonderful readers and beautiful survivors!!How are we doing today?
We dedicate December to be a self-awareness month as what better way is to begin the holidays with a fresh perspective and personal enlightenment?
This week we shall focus on the different stages of self-awareness and a little bit of the art of mindfulness through which we can bring a change in our own lives as well as in others by reaching out to them in a productive yet helpful way.
Self-awareness – its definition and stages.
Photo source : pixabay.com
Self-awareness is the ability to be conscious of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Being aware helps you to understand yourself as well as the others better.
“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself”
~ Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays~
IMPORTANCE OF SELF AWARENESS
It is practically impossible to improve unless you know what is the difficulty you are facing. It is a fundamental key in the process of healing after a traumatic/abusive experience.
Let’s see what Dr. Jennifer has to say about the importance:
“Self-awareness can actually be quite frustrating for people because as they begin to see more clearly the kinds of thoughts, feelings, sensations, impulses, urges, desires, needs, and beliefs that they have, they now have to face the reality of being more conscious of some of the unpleasant experiences they’ve been having without the ability to stop them. At the same time, becoming aware of something you were not aware of before gives you newfound knowledge and power. Without first being aware of something, you can’t investigate, explore, work with, or change it. Without self-awareness we would be full of blind spots.”
Dr.Jennifer C. Franklin she is a licensed psychologist (NC #4137; CA #PSY20709) by trade and anthropologist by nature. She has a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology and a Master’s in Counseling Psychology.
Having come to understand self-awareness, we must now get to know about a catalyst or shall we say the important feature that will enhance the process of self-consciousness to a higher level. And that would be mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the ability to stay in the present moment. Years ago when I had gone with a couple of friends for a 3-day meditation course, the first question that the instructor had put forward to us was
“how many of you are actually living in the present?”. It left me to think what did she really mean by that. She went on explaining with the help of a small example.
The pendulum clock. Notice the pendulum moving to and fro. The instructor went on saying is that when the pendulum moves to, it represents our future and when it moves back it represents the past. In our day to day lives, we are either dwelling in the past or thinking about the future. To be present, we have to be still. (at rest)
THE NEED OF DEVELOPING MINDFULNESS
Dr. Regina Chow Trammel states out 3 reasons for making mindfulness an essential part of your day to day life:
- Mindfulness helps you experience stress differently
- Mindfulness helps you make better decisions (clarify your thoughts and prioritize your values)
- Mindfulness fosters wellness (ability to cope with stress and trauma)
(Dr. Regina Chow Trammel has a background in clinical social work practice, which includes more than a decade in private practice in the Chicago area, as well as experience in psychiatric and medical social work settings. Her area of clinical focus has been in the treatment of depression, anxiety, postpartum mood disorders, sexual abuse history, family conflict, self-injury, and eating disorders. Regina is an assistant professor in the Masters of Social Work. Her research focuses on the effects of a Christian-informed mindfulness intervention as an alternative to traditional Buddhist-informed mindfulness on stress management.)
“Mindfulness is not difficult. We just need to remember to do it”
~Sharon Salzberg- New York Times Best-selling author & teacher of Buddhist meditation ~
Photo source: visualhunt.com
TIPS ON PRACTICING MINDFULNESS
Even though all of us are loaded with everyday routines and responsibilities, we can carve out few minutes for the wellbeing of our body and mind, can’t we?
- Paying attention to one or more tasks that you do. Such as mindful eating, mindful breathing etc.
- Observing your surroundings in a different angle
- Connecting with all your 5 senses – touch, smell, taste, sound, and sight.
- Pause, reflect, grasp and start all over again. It is a never-ending process.
- Indulge yourself in activities or hobbies that you absolutely love doing –reading, singing, dancing and much more.
- Taking small intervals of breaks from your busy routine to rejuvenate. Give quality time to yourself.
- Meditate daily – be it any form, yoga or deep breathing. it results in an increase in your productivity, energy, happiness, and peace of mind.
“If every 8-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation”
~Dalai Lama- Spiritual Leader~
Photo source: Visualhunt.com
YOGA – THE GATEWAY TO ACHIEVE MINDFULNESS
Yoga helps in making a huge difference for survivors as most experts believe that trauma or the effects of it resides in the body and that’s where yoga works at its best.
Zabie Khorakiwala, speaker, educator, and trauma-sensitive Yoga instructor, discusses (in the video below) on how to create a safe and supportive Yoga experience for survivors of sexual mistreatment, and emphasizes how Yoga, if taught correctly, can be an extremely powerful healing process for many.
Other benefits of practicing yoga are:
- Higher brain functioning Common Benefits of Mindfulness Decreased Stress
- Increased immune function
- Lowered blood pressure
- Lowered heart rate
- Increased awareness
- Increased attention and focus
- Increased clarity in thinking and perception
- Lowered anxiety levels
- Experience of being calm and internally still
- Experience of feeling connected
“Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.”
~B. K. S. Iyengar- Founder of Iyengar Yoga ~
Hoping that you found a new light by reading this just as I did. Let us all be mindful of our lives and look at it in a new light.
Till then, keep shining bright like you always do!
PLQ Inspirational Blogger and Survivor
Credit Featured Image :
Photographer: Ahmad Torabi
Instagram: @Ahmad Torabi