Emotional self-awareness. It’s a phrase that many understand the concept of, but they do not know how to apply it. A dictionary definition defines it as the ability to recognize and understand our emotions, their effects on our behavior, and how to regulate them.
To simplify, it’s understanding why we feel the way we do. And this is where several people stop with understanding emotional self-awareness. To take it further, emotional self-awareness is essential in bouncing back from adversity. It allows you to respond with consciousness instead of instinctively reacting to challenges.
Are there positive and negative effects of emotional self-awareness?
In short, yes. There are both positive and negative effects of emotional self-awareness.
In a positive light, it leads to landing that higher-paying career. It makes your relationships more wholesome. It gives you a feeling of fulfillment, especially when you can understand yours.
On the negative side, it is the reason why some people overthink situations. And it is why some live in a constant state of fight-or-flight. The negative side may hinder growth if you do not learn how to respond to the challenges life throws at you.
And this is why emotional self-awareness can help. It helps you find a balance between the positive and negative side of your emotions. It also helps you harmonize with the chaos that arises from the sucky moments in life. The important thing is to not let it hold you back. And to do that, you start by understanding your core emotions.
What is at the core of emotional self-awareness?
To understand your emotional self-awareness, you need to understand the core emotions. They are sadness, anger, joy, and fear. Sorry Inside Out, Disgust is not included in the lineup. Recognizing these emotions helps you understand how they affect your behavior.
Sadness affects our concentration. We withdraw from social situations and retreat into ourselves. And when we are sad, we tend to retreat into our shells to feel safe. And forget about going out. That drains our social battery!
Anger leads to impulsive outbursts and saying things you don’t mean. Have you ever felt the need to bite your tongue when you’re upset? There is a reason why our parents tell us to think before we act.
Fear makes us avoid and procrastinate. Even if you feel as though you are being productive doing something else, that is fear acting. Have you ever heard of the term procrasti-cleaning? Or avoiding a daunting task that’s actually simple because you don’t want others to reject you. That’s fear in the act.
And finally, we have joy. Joy leads to optimism and magnified motivation. This is the emotion we strive to live in all the time. It propels us forward. And yet, there are those who feel the need to experience complete joy to accomplish anything.
Now that you understand how these emotions affect us, you can learn to use them to regulate yourself.
How do you develop your emotional self-awareness to bounce back?
Being aware of these core emotions allows you to take necessary action. This may look like reaching out to a friend, self-care, or seeking professional help. By taking action, you make a commitment to focus on a goal and not let your emotions derail you.
Albeit, developing this skill takes practice. You might not be able to master it overnight, but you can still learn it. A strategy you can use to practice your emotional self-awareness is practicing mindfulness. This can be meditation, deep breathing exercises, or journaling.
Additionally, paying attention to your body’s physical reaction to emotions will help. Check in with your heart rate when a situation changes. Are you clenching your jaw or any other muscles in your body? Are your palms sweaty or shaky? What is your body doing when you feel yourself jump from one emotion to another?
Learning your physical cues will help you tune in to your emotional response.
Onward to thriving from adversity
Emotional self-awareness is an essential component of personal growth. And it is a key factor in bouncing back from adversity. Recognizing and understanding your emotions will help you regulate them. In doing so, you’ll be able to respond with conscious awareness to hard situations. It takes practice, but it is a skill that you can learn with time and effort.