By Diana Raab, Ph.D.
Whether you are a seasoned or emerging writer, the start of a new year is a good time to become self-aware. Being self-aware stimulates the mind-body connection. It is also a way to monitor what works in our lives and what does not. Self-awareness can also lead to positive thinking. In doing so, self-awareness can lead to change and transformation. In the writing world, self-awareness is also a key ingredient to being a compelling writer. One of the many benefits of writing is to learn or change your way of looking at a situation or story.
Being self-aware while writing involves the ability to monitor and be cognizant of your reaction to different situations. If we remain self-aware while writing a memoir we are able to identify certain issues and negative emotions that might come forth, affecting the quality of the writing process.
There are many ways to practice self-awareness. Basically, they involve ways to stay true to the story you have set out to write.
Here are 7 ways to practice self-awareness in your life:
1. Mindfulness training. Being mindful means being completely present in the now and seeing things are they are, rather than seeing them the way you want to see them. It means living completely in the moment. This is a perfect frame of mind for the memoir writer who aims to stay true to the story of his or her life. To remind yourself to remain mindful, breathe in and then say to yourself: “I know that I am breathing in.”
2. Practice yoga. By maintaining certain asanas or positions, yoga helps quiet the mind.
3. Journaling. Stream-of-consciousness writing or writing without lifting your pen off the page is a great way to practice being in the moment. Ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?” And then write it down.
4. Psychotherapy. Gestalt therapy is one type of psychotherapy that focuses on the moment and the here and now. This is usually done with a psychotherapist.
5. Creative Visualization. This technique improves body and mind awareness using conscious breathing, images, and sensation to realign the thought process. Specific intentions are set in the mind.
6. Meditation. Meditation elicits self-awareness and involves sitting quietly with legs crossed in a chair, or on the floor on a cushion. There are many ways to meditate. These usually involve focusing on the breath, music or special mantras.
7. Hypnosis. This is a way to explore the subconscious mind and helps to release certain beliefs, personal demons or traumas. While in the hypnotic state, the person receives positive messages from the hypnotist that can help empower and facilitate change.