Awareness and Self Awareness

My focus for the first month of the year has been personal awareness. I’m trying to break the habit of going into auto pilot. I think most of us have driven somewhere to arrive and not really even remember the trip. We were preoccupied with something on our mind. I changed my bedroom furniture around a few years ago. I was barefoot, preoccupied and moving quickly. I went the old path through the room. My foot had a run in with the bed post now in a new spot. My lack of awareness of the new furniture arrangement created a broken toe. The Merriam Webster definition of aware is – having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge. Having an awareness of our surroundings is essential for our safety and our outer well being.

Awareness is also a part of mindfulness and being in the present moment. Ideally when first waking up think – I am aware I’m awake. Throughout the day take at least a few times to be aware of what you are doing. I’ve been walking down the same hallway at work for five years. All this month I’ve thought I’m aware I’m walking down the hall to the Physical Therapy department. It sets the intension to be more aware at work. I’ve found I’m now even more aware and engaged while working there.

As more attention is placed on the issues of racism, ageism, sexism, poverty and violence we may feel compelled to take action. Outer awareness can sometimes lead to inner awareness. Having self awareness is related to our inner well being. The Mind Body Stress Reduction class I took several years ago increased my awareness. One mediation was entirely on sounds we heard in the room. A yoga practice usually puts an emphasis on breath awareness. Yoga also has a great emphasis on body awareness and how we feel in the poses. Ideally this awareness is also without judgement.

One of my favorite quotes is from the move Bull Durham. The quirky character Annie Savoy states “The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness.” With more self awareness, I feel I need to take action and work on myself. Sometimes I feel it is easier to blissfully unaware.

According to research has shown there are benefits to self awareness.

  • It can make us more proactive, boost our acceptance, and encourage positive self-development (Sutton, 2016).
  • Self-awareness allows us to see things from the perspective of others, practice self control, work creatively and productively, and experience pride in ourselves and our work as well as general self-esteem (Silvia & O’Brien, 2004).
  • It leads to better decision-making (Ridley, Schutz, Glanz, & Weinstein, 1992).
  • It can make us better at our jobs, better communicators in the workplace, and enhance our self-confidence and job-related wellbeing (Sutton, Williams, & Allinson, 2015).

More information can be found at