SPIRITUALITY By Staff Curator / July 9, 2016 Do you have destructive thought patterns holding you back? By: theutopianlife.com- An old African proverb says, “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can do you no harm.” Self-awareness is one of the most important skills for success. How you behave and respond to external situations is governed by internal mental processes. Self-awareness uncovers any destructive thought-patterns and unhealthy habits. This leads to better decision-making and behavioral responses. Here are 12 exercises for greater self-awareness (read until the end where you can download the infographic!): 1. The three Why’s Before acting on a decision, ask yourself “Why?” Follow up your response with another “Why?” And then a third. If you can find three good reasons to pursue something, you’ll have clarity and be more confident in your actions. Being self-aware means knowing your motives and determining whether they’re reasonable. 2. Expand your emotional vocabulary The philosopher Wittgenstein said, “The limits of my language means the limits of my world.” Emotions create powerful physical and behavioral responses, and are more complex than “happy” or “sad.” Putting your feelings into words has a therapeutic effect on your brain; if you’re unable to articulate how you feel, that can create stress. Here’s a great list of “feeling words” to help with labeling your emotions. Increase your emotional vocabulary with one new word each day. 3. Practice saying “No” to yourself The ability to say “no” to yourself — to put off short-term gratification for the long-term gain — is an important life skill. And like a muscle, it is strengthened with exercise. The more you practice saying “No” to small daily challenges, the better you can withstand major temptations. There are plenty of daily temptations — social media, junk food, gossiping, Youtube. Make a goal of saying “No” to five different temptations each day. 4. Break visceral reactions A person without self-awareness runs on auto-pilot, and responds with knee-jerk reactions. Self-awareness allows you to assess situations objectively and rationally, without acting on biases and stereotypes. Take a deep breath before you act — especially when a situation evokes anger or frustration. This gives you time to re-assess whether your response will be the best one. 5. Be accountable to your flaws Nobody is perfect. Being aware of your flaws, but failing to accept accountability, is leaving the job half-done. We’re often critical of others, while ignorant of our own flaws. Self-awareness helps turn the mirror on ourselves and prevents hypocritical behavior. Iteration and self-improvement only happens once you… Read the complete article here.