15 Self Awareness Activities and Exercises for Emotional …

Posted: January 4, 2018 at 3:40 pm

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This guide provides over a dozen self awareness activities and exercises to increase emotional intelligence and strengthen your self-leadership abilities.


In Ancient Greece, at the front courtyard at Delphi, the former shrine to the oracle Pythia, there was an inscription:

It translates to know thyself, a famous aphorism often attributed to Socrates or Plato.

What does it mean to know oneself?

At first glance, we might discount this phrase as rhetoric.Sure, I know myself, you might lament.I know who I am.On closer examination, however, we cant be so certain.

Do we knowwhywe behave the way we do?What drives our decisions? How do we really feel about ourselves and the people in our lives?How do we really feel about ourselves and the people in our lives?

As Ralph Ellison said, When I discover who I am, Ill be free.

While awareness is knowing whats happening around you, self-awareness is knowing what youre experiencing.

Self-awarenessis the ability to know what we are doing as we do itandunderstand why we are doing it.

Consciousness is another word for self-awareness. Psychologist Anthony Stevens explains inPrivate Myths:

Consciousness enables individuals to monitor what is going on, to be aware of the nature and quality of events as they occur, and to perceive their meaning.

If we are not consciousness, we are unconscious. When we are unconscious, we lack self-awareness.

A large body of research shows the extraordinary range of unconscious biases and blind spots humans have.

Behavioral Economist Daniel Kahneman, author of the bestsellerThinking, Fast and Slow, shows that despite our confidence in our self-knowledge, we are usually wrong.

As it turns out, we arent as self-aware as we might think.

Self-awareness is the foundation for emotional intelligence,self-leadership, and mature adulthood.

With it, we can grow and develop. Without it, we are like a leaf riding a wind current.

Self-awareness is a skill. In any skill, learning goes throughfour primary stages. The first stage isunconscious incompetence. When we start something new, we arent aware of how poor we are at it.

Try to play a melody on an instrument youve never played before, and youll know how unconscious incompetence feels.

It is because of the discomfort this incompetence brings that we often avoid learning new things. Learning self-awareness requires the same discomfort.

As such, most people go through life without developing self-awareness.

Yet, self-awareness is a foundational skill essential to anyone interested in authenticpersonal development.

The key to developing self-awareness is the same as with building any skill: you need to the right methods combined with consistent practice.

Thankfully, there are many self-awareness activities and exercises designed to increase our sensitivity to whats going on inside us.

When most people talk about knowing thyself, they are referring to their mind.

Our cultural bias since the Age of Enlightenment (the 1700s) has been for toward reason, logic, and cognition.

But thats only part of the story.

We can section the brain into three parts: neocortex, limbic system, and basal ganglia.

The neocortex is the thinking or learning brain. It controls language, thought, and reasoning.

Much of the information in the neocortex isconscious, meaning we can draw on it at will.

The limbic system is the emotional center. It stores value judgments we make and memories of behaviors that produce positive and negative experiences.

Information from the limbic system is largelysubconscious. That is, this information is just below the surface of our awareness.

The basal ganglia is at the root of the brain. This is our instinctual center. Information travels from our gut to this primitive region without going through the other brain regions.

Information from the basal ganglia is mostlyunconscious. We generally cant access this information.

Brain Region.

NeocortexLimbic SystemBasal Ganglia





To build self-awareness, we must strengthen our conscious connection toall threebrain regions.

Different self awarenessactivities strengthen connections in various brain regions.

See also:How to Decalcify Your Pineal Gland (Its an important step in building greater self-awareness)

And:A Beginners Guide to Using Nootropics to Access Your Brains Potential

Most attempts to develop self-awareness fail because they only target the neocortex (thoughts, beliefs, biases).

Our goal is to become more conscious of whats driving our behavior.

To accomplish this, we need to increase our sensitivity to our emotions and instinctsthe information we rarely access with our conscious mind.

Then, we can explore our thoughts, beliefs, and biases with greater results.

Before we do any self awareness activities, we mustfind our center.

Centering must always be the first step because it increases our attention.

Attention is essential for learning, understanding and developing in any area.

For a powerful and simple practice you can use each day to access your Center quickly and consistently, see out my program, The Mastery Method: Activate Your Higher Potential. (You can listen to afree sample on the page.)

Of the many types of meditation, mindfulness has become the most popular in the West largely because of theresearchconducted on how this form of meditation affects the brain. (See the work of neuroscientistRichard Davidsonand psychologistJon Kabat-Zinn.)

Mindfulness is a form of observational meditation where meditators place their awareness on a focal point. This point can be the breath (the process of breathing) or our thoughts, but it can also be on any information coming in through our five senses.

Developing thisobserving selfis the key to developing self-awareness.

The reason we arelargely unconscious to our behavior is that our egos actautonomously. We have no one monitoring our thoughts, feelings, actions, and behavior from moment to moment.

Through observational meditation, we create a space between the doer of actions, the thinker of thoughts, and the feeler of feelings.

Theobserving selfcan then monitor our thoughts, feelings, and actions with objectivity.

Its important to understand that we dont have this observing self unless we develop it. Without this inner observer, we cant develop self-awareness.

Abraham Maslow writes inToward a Psychology of Being:

Humans no longer have instincts in the animal sense, powerful, unmistakable inner voices which tell them unequivocally what to do, when, where, how and with whom. Authentic selfhood can be defined in part as being able to hear these impulse-voices within oneself, that is, to know what one really wants or doesnt want, what one is fit for and what one is not fit for, etc.

Reconnecting with our body/instincts is an integral part of developing self-awareness.

For anyone interested in developing self-awareness, I recommend exploring Tai Chi, Qigong, or Yoga.

The aim of these practices is to strengthen a body-mind connection.

Two particular self-awareness activities I recommend are:

These activities dont require a lot of time to get started, and you will develop greater awareness of your body right away.

Also, see my program, The Mastery Method.

Your personality is a collection of patterns. These patterns include thoughts, beliefs, worldviews, feelings, tendencies, and behaviors.

Our experiences and environment condition these patterns into us.

Most of these patterns lie below the surface of our awareness. By getting to know our personality, we bring these patterns into consciousness increasing our self-awareness.

Self-awareness activities for your personality include:

All of these activities and processes help you get to know your personality, improve intrapersonal intelligence, and build self-awareness.

According to John Whitmore, a pioneer in the coaching industry and author ofCoaching for Performance,

Building awareness, responsibility, and self-belief is the goal of a coach.

A primary way a coach helps their clients build awareness is by givingeffective feedback.

If youpractice shadow work, one thing many people notice is how much easier it is to observe other peoples shortcomings than your own.

In corporate environments, many organizations use 360-degree feedbacks, an assessment tool for providing employees with performance feedback from their supervisor and up to eight peers.

If you donthave a coach, you can ask a trusted friend questions like:

You can only ask these questions to a trusted confidante and from a place of openness.

Self-awareness is a skill that helps us monitor our behavior and to better understand our motives and ourselves.

Like any other skill, we can develop self-awareness with the right methods combined with consistent practice.

The stronger our observing self becomes, the more space we have between us and our thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Most people fail to develop self-awareness because they dont get rooted in their bodies first.

We need to integrate the various regions of our brain that guide our instincts, feelings, and thoughts to increase our self-awareness.

By practicing a range of self-awareness activities and exercises, we can address our body, emotions, and thoughts. This integrated approach is the key to cultivating true self-awareness.

Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace)by Chade-Meng Tan


Chade-Meng Tan was one of the first engineers at Google. Years later, he helped launch the Search Inside Yourself Institute, a leadership program within Google. The program is a synthesis of the work of psychologists Jon Kabat-Zinn and Daniel Goleman, neuroscientist Richard Davidson, and others.

At its core,Search Inside Yourselfis a mind training program in emotional intelligence, the critical factor in outperforming leadership. Not only is this book an accessible, practical introduction to emotional intelligence with clear practices and methods, its also an excellent summary of dozens of other great personal development books rolled into one.

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQby Daniel Goleman

Paperback | Kindle| Audio

The reason Golemans book is still relevant over 20 years after becoming a bestseller is that no matter how many times were told that there are different kinds of intelligence, most people still equate intelligence with IQ and cognition.

But 20 years of research, especially in the business sector, has revealed that its emotional intelligence, not cognitive intelligence, that defines high performance and lasting success in business and life.

5 Transformative Methods to ACTIVATE Your Pineal Gland and Tap Into Your Superhuman Potential

Cultivate Self-Leadership to Master Your Behavior and Realize Your Leadership Potential

How to Decalcify Your Pineal Gland (And Why Its Really Important for Higher Mental Performance)

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15 Self Awareness Activities and Exercises for Emotional ...

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Written by simmons |

January 4th, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Posted in Self-Awareness