• How to Become More Emotionally Self-Aware 

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    How to Become More Emotionally Self-Aware 

    Emotions are powerful influencers in our lives. They impact how we move through our days and interact with others. Emotional self-awareness is identifying and understanding our emotions and their impact on our thoughts and behaviors. 

    For example, a bad experience in the car on the way to work can easily and unintentionally spill over into other interactions we have that day. But, by identifying those emotions as they happen, we can work through them and prevent them from harming other experiences.

    Being self-aware is at the heart of emotional intelligence. The more self-aware you are, the better your overall well-being. At CW Psychological Services in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, our counselors and associate clinicians understand that it is not always easy to be aware of our emotions in the moment. This is why we have identified some practices to help improve self-awareness. If you or someone you love is struggling in any way with their emotions, we encourage you to seek support from a licensed mental health professional. 

    How can you become more emotionally self-aware?

    1.) Identify your emotional home.

    Your emotional home is the learned emotional state of being that is most comfortable. It is the “place” we seek to return to and stay in because it is the most familiar. But familiar doesn’t mean healthy. Your emotional home could be anger or sadness. Or it could be peace or joy. Our emotional home is a place we return to out of habit. It is where we have learned to be. It may feel like the safest, even if it’s not. 

    Someone who had a chaotic childhood may feel safest in chaos. Therefore, they will find and create chaos whenever they can, same with anger or joy. A person whose emotional home is dysfunctional may find themselves in relationships or workplaces that are also dysfunctional because it feels “normal.” 

    The good news is once you become aware of your emotional home, you can use that information to make positive changes. Ask yourself: Where do I find myself emotionally most of the time? If you struggle to identify this, use a journal. Each day write down how you feel when you wake up and a few times throughout the day. Then, ask yourself if you want to make any changes to your emotional home. Use that information to identify some ways to make those changes. A counselor or therapist can help create a plan that works for you. 

    emotionally self-aware mindfulness

    2.) Explore your emotional tapestry. 

    Not everyone has the same views on emotions. Like politics, our emotional ecosystem may look different depending on upbringing, our lived experiences, culture, geography, and personal values. Each of us holds personal wisdom in our emotional landscapes. You know yourself better than anyone else. 

    Take some time, write down your answers, and explore your emotional health free of judgment, blame, and shame. Ask yourself:

    • What is your relationship with emotions? Do you try to hide or ignore uncomfortable feelings? Or do you work through them? Do you allow yourself to feel happiness and joy? 

    • When you were growing up, were you encouraged to express emotion? Which ones? Were you discouraged from expressing certain emotions? 

    • Do you find it easier to express certain emotions over others? 

    • What do you want to feel more of? 

    3.) Practice mindfulness.

    Being emotionally self-aware means being present in the moment. Which, despite sounding easy, can be incredibly difficult with all the technology constantly pulling at our attention. Mindfulness requires us to slow down and focus on our thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations free of judgment. If you struggle with mindfulness, counselors Danny Varughese, Hoda Ammmar, social worker Meredith Reid and others can help. 

    Noticing our emotions in the moment can help us more effectively process them. Going back to the car example above, if you notice you are angry because a driver cut you off, you can process that feeling for what it is and let it pass, allowing you to achieve a more positive emotional state.

    mindfulness emotionally self-aware

    4.) Name your emotions in the moment. 

    Coupled with mindfulness, get in the habit of naming your emotions. You don’t get to choose your emotions, whether it be anger, jealousy, sadness, fear, or joy. But you do get to choose how you respond to that emotion. Author Dr. Robyn Hanley-Dafoe gives this suggestion in her book Stress Wisely

    Practice seeing your emotions in the moment. Notice what you are feeling.

    Name it. Describe your emotion as clearly as you can.

    Place it. Where is the feeling coming from? Why might you feel the way you do?

    Determine action. What are you going to do with this emotion? 

    By practicing this response to your emotions, you are putting yourself in the position of observer of your emotions. Rather than just feeling them and responding to them, you are observing and acknowledging their existence and then determining what to do with those feelings. This allows you to make better choices for your emotional well-being. 

    The whole purpose of emotions is to trigger actions. When we are not aware of those emotions and how they are impacting our actions they can cause a slippery slope of unpleasant responses. Increasing self-awareness puts you in the driver’s seat of your emotional health. 

    Need Help with Emotional Regulation?

    We got you. At CW Psychological Services our licensed and associate clinicians regularly work with clients to improve overall mental health and emotional wellbeing. We can help you regulate and process your emotions and develop healthy responses. We are here for you. 

    Ready to begin counseling in Pennsylvania?

    Counselors and associate-level clinicians at CW Psychological Services are professionally trained. We have openings for online or telehealth therapy appointments. Email us at [email protected] or call (610) 308-7575. We want to help.