A self-awareness exercise to help keep you calm and effective

March 4, 2012 by Joshua
in Awareness, Blog, Exercises, Tips

Here’s a quick exercise to make yourself aware of how your body handles stress, which can help you decrease stress.

You’ll recognize the answers to the questions easily. The point is how to use the answers. I’ll explain how at the end.

Step 1: Think of a painful experience in your life. Remember how you felt when it happened. Think of what you saw, heard, felt, tasted, etc, but especially try to remember your thoughts.

Step 2: Notice three things: the level of judgment in your thoughts, how much you focused on yourself as compared to others, and your bodily response.

Regarding your bodily response, do you recall your breathing — shallow and quick or deep and slow — what level of tension you had in your muscles, and if your body was open and relaxed or closed and tight?

Step 3: Think of an awesome experience. Remember it and how you felt when it happened. Try to think of what you saw, heard, felt, tasted, etc, but especially try to remember your thoughts.

Step 4: Notice three things: the level of judgment in your thoughts, how much you focused on yourself as compared to others, and your bodily response.

Regarding your bodily response, do you recall your breathing — shallow and quick or deep and slow — what level of tension you had in your muscles, and if your body was open and relaxed or closed and tight?

How to use the answers

Many people think stress causes the bodily responses and inward focus of the thoughts. It can work that way, but I think of them happening in a system: stress, bodily tension, and judgmental, inward thoughts all reinforce each other.

Likewise calmness, supportive thoughts, and lack of tension mutually support each other.

When you feel like you can’t control your stress or mood, remember you can voluntarily manage your breathing, bodily tension, and, to some extent, your thoughts. Those things affect your mood. You can use those things to create the moods you want, like to dissipate tension and stress.

Usually you feel stress when you want to get things done. Stress doesn’t make you effective. Calmness does.

Read my weekly newsletter

Initiative leadership spodek

On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a Reply

Sign up for my weekly newsletter