Note: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes and is not medical advice.
The article below is an excerpt from my book, Recapture Your Health.
Self-awareness of all aspects of your being is a very beneficial aspect of the healing process. A premise of holistic healing is that everything is connected to and affects everything else. Therefore, any one aspect you become aware of and work with can benefit the whole. Here are a few insights on how to make self-awareness a useful tool for your healing.
Awareness of your body and what feels good and what hurts, can help you make decisions enhancing your health and well-being.
Many people are actually somewhat numb; they really have little awareness of what feels good or hurts them, until finally something becomes quite painful. Bracing (full-body muscular tension), disease, and symptom-suppressing approaches to health care can all contribute to numbness, and dedication may be required to learn to feel your body again.
Consistently bring your attention and awareness to your body. Check in to see how your body is feeling as many moments of the day as you can. (It can be helpful to choose just one body part to start with and add more later.) When you become aware of discomfort somewhere in your body, stay with the sensations and see what they tell you. It may be helpful to put words to your discomfort by writing down or describing what you feel to a practitioner or friend. The action of describing may give you more clues about what the discomfort is trying to tell you and may yield more insight and possible solutions. Body awareness can also be enhanced through activities like receiving massage, daily stretching, self-massage, exercising regularly, doing Skilled Relaxation, and becoming healthier.
Awareness of your emotions combined with skills for understanding them, can make your feelings a useful message system and ally for achieving your life goals.
Many people are uncomfortable with emotions, especially the so-called negative ones. Emotions are actually signals of appropriateness (happy feelings) or disharmony (unhappy feelings) in your life, either externally (in the psychosocial environment) or internally (in your mind or in your own body/biochemistry).
When emotions arise, take some time and go to a quiet place (preferably alone) where you can just stay with whatever comes up for you. Focus your attention for a while on your body. Then, focus your attention on your mind. By doing so, you will learn that emotions have two components,
By separating out these two components of emotion, you can experience your feelings fully and also learn what your emotions are trying to tell you. You can then use this greater awareness to know what steps to take. For example, you may choose appropriate expression of those emotions to bring about a constructive resolution to problems. Or, you may wish to do some inner mental-emotional process work to resolve unfinished material from your past which is triggering your emotions. Appropriate expression of emotions and mental-emotional process work may be learned from books (See the Self-Help Book/Video List.) and from counselors or psychotherapists. (See the Mental-Emotional Links.)
Awareness of your thoughts and how they affect you both positively and negatively, can guide you to use the mind's creative power to support you.
Many people are not really aware of what they are thinking, and often people undermine their own plans and goals through repeating negative thoughts about themselves, the past, or other people. You can change how you think by first becoming aware of what you are thinking.
Most people would simply benefit from devoting some quiet time each day to thinking things through. To get an idea about what you are thinking, it can be helpful to write down your thoughts about things. Trying doing this for an hour or so and see what you learn.
If you notice a sudden change in your mood, stop and take a minute to remember what you were thinking immediately prior to that change. Thoughts can be subtle, so it may take a little practice to catch them.
After you know what your thoughts are, you can make a conscious decision about if they are helping your or not. Contemplate what you want for yourself (goals) and then think about how you want your thoughts to support achieving those goals. Select new thoughts that are positive, uplifting and that can enhance, energize and move you forward in a creative way. Also consider whether the thoughts you think are kind and loving to yourself and others and if not, replace them with thoughts that are. Books and counseling can be helpful by giving suggestions for guiding thought in positive ways. (See the Self-Help Book List.)
Awareness of your spirit and what feels right for you in the deepest sense, can multiply the peace and joy in your life.
Many people do not allow themselves enough time, space, and quiet to listen to their own hearts and spirits, and thus, they miss a deep abiding source of happiness and contentment.
There are many ways, both formal and informal, to learn how to connect with your inner self or spirit. Sometimes a persons spirit can be known through feelings called intuition (such as when something just feels right for you, or feels wrong for you). It is like an inner knowing or inner voice. Allowing more quiet time for reflection and contemplation, visiting nature, seeking activities of a spiritual or religious nature, and doing good works for the benefit of other people are all ways that can help enhance the awareness of your spirit. (See the article Healing the Spirit and the Self-Help Book/Video List for more information and resources.)
After you have practiced self-awareness for a while, it will become a natural habit and you will more consistently experience an ongoing state of awareness of body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Your bodymind and spirit will then constantly give you messages and clues for taking care of yourself and for achieving optimum health.
For more information, Search Amazon.com for books on awareness.
Website Claimer and Disclaimer: In the holistic healing model, each person is responsible for one's own health and makes one's own choices in healing. The information in this website is provided for your information and education. It is not medical advice. Any application of the information is at your own discretion. If you feel you need to do so, consult with your physician or other knowledgeable health care practitioner before or while making use of this information.
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by Jan DeCourtney, CMT