Know Thyself — Mindful Moody Moments for Greater Self-Awareness
Our modern minds restlessly leap from thought to thought. Our emotions rise and fall, an uncertain mixture of anticipation, anger and anxiety. And our bodies barely move, motionless in seats for hours as only our fingertips twitch over screens and keys.
Modern life, or work (I forget which is which) is busy. We rarely get a moment to ourselves between all the meetings, hovering bosses and distracting alerts masquerading as helpful notifications.
Did you get a chance today to check in with yourself? To actually ask: “how do I feel?”
Maybe the last time you considered the question was when a friend or family member asked “How are you?” to which the staple “I’m fine” was sufficient and not really considered at all. After all, to answer the “How are you” question honestly is to break social convention and be met with a confused face.
So, when was the last time you really took a moment to think about how you felt?
And even if you did find a moment to listen to your heart, would you know how you felt? That’s not an attempt to be patronising, it’s a sincere question.
We’ve summoned walls to silence unwanted emotions attempting to shield ourselves from poisoned memories and hard truths. Additionally, we may find our vocabulary lacking to successfully express the nuances of our emotions. Distinguishing between happy and hopeful, or disgusted and disdained versions of ourselves is tricky.
Although difficult now, it needn’t continue being this way.
“We seldom take our emotional temperature and assume that what we feel is what we’re consciously aware of. What we know is all there is: I’m in a good/bad mood today; work’s stressing me; I’m not angry — I just don’t feel like talking; I don’t really feel anything.” – Dr Joan Handler
Through her approach, Emotional Agility, Psychologist Dr Susan David advocates one must be mindful, open and non-judgemental to our emotions in order to thrive.
The truth is that feelings are part of life. We can’t escape them. We choose how to deal with them. Often they are difficult and uncomfortable. It’s within us to identify and nurture them.
David recommends the mindful practice of labeling to develop emotional agility…
“Labeling allows you to see your thoughts and feelings for what they are: transient sources of data that may or may not prove helpful. Humans are psychologically able to take this helicopter view of private experiences, and mounting scientific evidence shows that simple, straightforward mindfulness practice like this not only improves behavior and well-being but also promotes beneficial biological changes in the brain and at the cellular level.”
Whilst no one expects the novice runner to run a marathon in their first week, we expect each other to be masters of our own thoughts and emotions.
But like running, with regular consistent practice we develop self-awareness and nuanced mood recognition. We grow.
Whether you’d like to build better self-awareness or you’d just like a reminder to take a few mindful moments in your busy day, Thyself is here for you.
Thyself is a Chrome Extension giving you mindful moments throughout your day to track and express your mood with emoji. Periodically throughout the day, Thyself halts your browser and simply asks: “How do you feel?”
Over time your emoji responses are collected for you (and for you alone) to review. Through regular practice you’ll begin to notice the nuances in your emotions developing greater self-awareness.
Emojis are the perfect medium for expressing your mood. They are subjective, carrying different meaning for different people. They express feeling words cannot. They are playful, reminding one not to be too hard on oneself.
After checking in with your mood, maybe take the opportunity for a longer break: a meditation session or blissful walk.