September is Self-Awareness Month, so we invited energy and wellness coach Rachel Gorman to explain how self-awareness can save you time and energy just when you feel stripped of both.
By becoming aware of how we are building and using our energy, both physically and mentally, we may be able to harness more energy when we need it the most. A year ago, I participated in the Corporate Athlete Program at the Human Performance Institute (HPI) in Orlando, Florida. For over 30 years, they have been researching and training athletes, helping them become more effective under pressure and during times of stress. Much of what they are learning about athletes applies to us all.
The HPI model connects the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual self. Dr. Ellen Langer, Harvard psychology researcher and founder of the Langer Mindfulness Institute often says, “It’s time to bring the mind and body back together.” Dr. Langer describes mindfulness as the simple act of actively noticing things we may not have noticed before. She challenges us to put ourselves in the present, which can be engaging and enlivening.
A friend of mine, Amy, noticed she complained too much and decided she wanted to stop. Complaining was sapping her energy and having a negative impact on her thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Whining was not serving her well and was not representative of who she wanted to be.
To support her decision, she created a new ritual to remind her not to complain. She set a daily alarm on her phone that went off each morning with the reminder, “Complaining saps your energy.” She asked her friends, colleagues and relatives to bring it to her attention whenever she started complaining. She knew these close acquaintances would hold her accountable.
As Amy started to complain to her sister over the phone, her sister said, “Amy… are you being your best self?” This old habit took effort to change, but in time she was spending renewed daily energy thinking, talking and behaving in a way that was more enjoyable, beneficial and reflective of who Amy really was deep down inside.
Starting right now, for self-awareness month, try to notice the connections between your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual selves. How are you gaining energy? Where are you spending it? What can you tweak to become the best version of yourself? Here are some ideas to get started:
For your Emotional Self—
- Are you noticing and acknowledging your feelings, or are you burying any uncomfortable feelings? Embrace those emotions rather than push them away.
For your Physical Self—
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Are you eating light and often (nutrient dense foods) to keep your energy level throughout the day?
- Are you moving your body regularly, stretching or exercising? Even if you don’t have time for a legitimate workout, get up and move throughout the day. This will help you stay energized by increasing blood flow throughout your body and brain.
For your Mental Self—
- What is your private, internal voice saying? About you? About others?
- What is your mindset?
- How does this impact how you feel or behave?
For your Spiritual Self—
- What is your purpose or mission in life?
- What matters most to you?
- Is your energy and time spent on things, and with people, that are most valuable to you?
A short pause, a shift in your attention, awareness, and focus can positively impact how you feel and how you interact with others. Try it now: take two deep breaths, use your senses, and notice something new. Doing so regularly could give you a new lease on life.