When my kids were preschoolers, I had the recurring experience that I would think I was doing fine, going about my day managing alright, and then one tiny thing would go wrong and I'd lose it. Maybe I'd trip on a toy, or the kids would start arguing, and out came all the frustration and stress that I had - unknowingly - been holding inside. I hadn’t developed the self-awareness to notice the more subtle signs that my mental state needed attention, and so when something tipped it over the edge, it took both me and everyone around me by surprise. I always regretted how I acted and what I said, but the scenario would inevitably repeat itself days or weeks down the road when the pressure of chronic stress had built up again.
When we start on a journey to bring more calm into our lives, to live more in connection with our true values and from a place of vibrant well-being, the very first step is always to become aware. Regardless of what we know about stress management or emotional regulation, no matter our knowledge of meditation or deep breathing, without awareness, it’s useless. We won’t use any of that knowledge or those tools to help free ourselves from the cycle of negative stress if we don’t know we’re stuck.
So how do we become more aware? One powerful way to cultivate awareness is to practice it. In this video, I’ll guide you through a simple, short self-awareness practice that you can use anytime. Build it into your day – whether it’s when you’re in the shower, every time you stop at a traffic light or wait for the bus, or while washing dishes, pausing for a moment to check in with yourself starts opening your awareness to all that’s happening inside. I invite you to practice it right now, along with me:
Taking a minute to check in with how you are in the present moment – in your body, your thoughts, your emotions, and your spirit – can be the beginning of a journey towards taking good care of all the parts of you. But whatever way you choose to do it, increasing your awareness is one of the necessary first steps on your path toward calm.