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What is Self Awareness and How to Increase It

Self-awareness is an important part of emotional intelligence and helps individuals to regulate their emotions, set goals, and make better decisions.

By Josh GreenPublished 2 months ago 4 min read
Illustration by Productive Fish

What is Self-Awareness?

Self-awareness is the conscious knowledge and understanding of one’s own personality, feelings, thoughts, and sensations. It involves the ability to reflect on one’s own mental states and perceive them as distinct from those of others.

Self-understanding is considered a key aspect of human consciousness and is thought to be necessary for many higher-level cognitive functions, such as empathy and decision-making.

Importance of Self Awareness

Self-awareness is important because it allows individuals to understand their own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, and how they impact themselves and others.

This understanding can lead to better decision making, improved relationships, and greater personal growth and development. Additionally, self-awareness can also enhance emotional intelligence and increase empathy for others, contributing to overall well-being and fulfilling personal and professional relationships.

Ways to Increase Self-Awareness

Increasing self-awareness involves taking a deliberate and intentional approach to understand and reflect on one's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This process of introspection and self-reflection can lead to greater understanding of one's strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and habits. By becoming more aware of these aspects of ourselves, we can make more informed decisions, develop healthier relationships, and work towards personal growth and fulfillment.

Here are some tips on how to increase self-awareness:

  • Practice mindfulness and introspection: Regularly take time to reflect on your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, and how they impact your daily life.
  • Seek feedback from others: Ask friends, family members, or coworkers for their perspectives on your behavior and habits.
  • Keep a journal: Writing down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences can help you gain insight into your patterns of behavior and emotions.
  • Engage in self-reflection activities: Consider participating in activities such as meditation, therapy, or workshops that encourage self-reflection and self-discovery.
  • Try new experiences: Stepping out of your comfort zone by trying new activities and hobbies can broaden your perspective and help you better understand yourself and your values.
  • Remember, increasing self-awareness is a lifelong process that requires patience, persistence, and a willingness to challenge yourself.

Interesting Facts About Self-Awareness

Here are some interesting facts about self-awareness:

  1. Self-awareness is a unique trait in humans: While some animals, such as primates and dolphins, have demonstrated some level of self-awareness, it is considered a unique and advanced trait in humans.
  2. The brain plays a role in self-awareness: Research has shown that the brain’s insular cortex and anterior cingulate cortex are responsible for self-awareness.
  3. Self-awareness can improve decision making: Studies have found that individuals who are more self-aware are more likely to make better decisions and have greater insight into their own motivations and behavior.
  4. Self-awareness can be improved through practice: Regular mindfulness practices, such as meditation and journaling, have been shown to increase self-awareness.
  5. Lack of self-awareness can lead to negative outcomes: On the other hand, individuals who are not self-aware may struggle in their relationships, have difficulty controlling their emotions, and make poor decisions.
  6. Self-awareness is a key component of emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence, or the ability to understand and regulate one's own emotions, as well as perceive and influence the emotions of others, is greatly enhanced by self-awareness.
  7. Self-awareness is important for personal growth: By understanding our thoughts, feelings, and behavior, we can identify areas for personal growth and work towards becoming the best version of ourselves.

Fascinating Studies on Self-Understanding

Here are a few examples:

  • The Rubber Hand Illusion: A study where a rubber hand was placed in front of a participant and simultaneously stroked with a paintbrush along with their own hand. The participants soon began to feel as if the rubber hand was their own, demonstrating the brain's ability to incorporate new information into its sense of self.

  • The Mirror Test: This test is used to determine if an animal has self-awareness by seeing if it recognizes its own reflection in a mirror. This test has been used on a variety of species, including primates, elephants, and dolphins, and has provided insight into the evolution of self-awareness in different species.
  • Self-awareness and Decision-Making: Studies have shown that individuals who are more self-aware are more likely to make better decisions. For example, a study found that individuals who were instructed to focus on their own thoughts and feelings while making a decision showed increased self-awareness and made more rational decisions compared to individuals who were not instructed to do so.
  • The Role of the Insular Cortex: Neuroimaging studies have found that the insular cortex, a part of the brain involved in self-awareness and emotion regulation, is activated when people reflect on their own thoughts and feelings.

These studies highlight the importance of self-awareness and demonstrate its impact on our decision making, emotions, and perception of the world around us. They also provide a deeper understanding of the underlying neural mechanisms involved in self-awareness.


About the Creator

Josh Green

Developer who is keen on productivity and well-being

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