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The Power of Self-Awareness

How did it go last week when you claimed a little downtime?

Did you pick a little free time and claim it for your own? 

Good. For. You.

It’s more important than you know to make your own free time a priority.  Even if the amount of time was small; that is big. 

Sometimes when people are starting to claim free time, it isn’t very relaxing. It can feel impossible to relax when you have work to do.  Is your work in the back of your mind all the time?  It is easy to keep thinking about all the things you “should” be doing.  

Why? Because thinking about work is a habit.  It is deeply embedded in your brain and creates an urge to work.  The result is the downtime you are trying to take isn’t real downtime, because your brain is still focused on work.

Today, I’ll give you a tool you can use to help you let go.  Ready? You’ll want a pen and paper.

Do this exercise, and let go of worrying about work.  It’s the power of self-awareness.

During your next period of free time, when you are worrying or “shoulding” yourself, then get your pen and paper and answer the following questions.  Keep writing until you can’t think of anything more.  Capture your stream of consciousness without judgment.  Just write.  The whole point is to get your thoughts out of your mind.

  • What are you thinking about?
  • Why are you choosing to think about it right now?
  • What would you do if it was optional to think about it?
  • What would you think about if you could think anything you wanted? (This question is my favorite because it tricks your brain into thinking about the thing you want to think about. Cool right?)

You might want to resist the part of writing it down.  I encourage you to do it anyway.  I want you to experience how powerful it is when you put it all on paper.  It’s like cleaning out a junk drawer.   

A word of warning:  Sometimes with this exercise, people are surprised by how negative their thinking is.  They think it means there is something wrong and they begin to harshly judge themselves.  If this happens to you I want you to remember that you are human.  Humans have negative thoughts and positive thoughts.  Negative thoughts can easily take over when we have a lack of awareness of them.  Creating awareness gives you the possibility of choosing which thoughts to keep.  

So this week, keep practicing claiming small blocks of free time that you normally wouldn’t claim.  Let your brain freak out because you aren’t used to free time. And write what your brain is telling you.

Keep practicing cleaning out the junk drawer.  Next week you’ll work on deciding what you want to put back in there.

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