Personal Growth with Jon Kabat-Zinn Emotional and Self Awareness
An important skill for the personal growth enthusiast is the ability to self regulate thinking and behaviors using personal and emotional awareness and mindfulness. Personal growth can be a satisfying and fulfilling goal when pursued as part of a conscious plan of self improvement.
For the reader following the example personal development plan of Personal Development Program –Building Awareness, this article relates to week #6, self awareness.
Mindfulness Self Awareness
Self awareness is one aspect of mindfulness, which stems from the Buddhism practice of conscious self awareness and acceptance. In Western culture, mindfulness is often ascribed to Jon Kabat-Zinn, whose bestselling book, Wherever You Go There You Are, popularized the processes of becoming personally and emotionally self aware.
Think of self awareness as a feedback system, a way of seeing your behaviors and even your thoughts from the perspective of another, but with immediate feedback. If you’ve ever experienced regret at something you did or said, or even a thought process you held, later wishing you had thought, said, or did something differently, you’ll recognize the immediate benefit of self awareness and mindfulness.
Rather than attempting to reverse the effects of something that has already occurred, self awareness allows for self regulation – correcting the thoughts, words, or deeds before they are completed.
To begin being more self aware, picture a small friend, perhaps your conscience — think Jiminy Cricket — sitting on your shoulder, silently and invisibly whispering corrections whenever your thoughts, words, or behaviors stray from those that best serve whom you wish to be.
If you have a personal development vision — a goal for growth of skills, abilities, and consciousness — use this model of self awareness to continuously regulate your thoughts, words, and behaviors, keeping them aligned with the vision.
A person’s emotions are fail-safe indicators of alignment with the authentic self and life purpose. Emotional awareness helps you self-regulate thoughts, words, and behaviors to keep them aligned not only with your plans, but also with the true you, your authentic self.
In his best selling book, Wherever You Go There You Are, Jon Kabat-Zinn suggests engaging mindfulness training by reminding yourself to shift from doing to being. He suggests watching the present moment, carefully observing it in detail without attempting to evaluate or change it.
Kabat-Zinn advises, “The easiest way to relax is to stop trying to make things different. Struggle comes from not accepting what is present.”
Additional Benefits of Mindfulness Training
Training yourself to be more mindful, with greater emotional and self awareness, will help you stay on track with your self improvement and personal growth goals.
According to Jenny Stamos Kovacs, writing on WebMD in “Blissing Out: 10 Relaxation Techniques To Reduce Stress On-the-Spot,” a valuable additional benefit is that mindfulness practices are found to be effective techniques in reducing stress and anxiety.