The Secrets of Self Awareness
The Secrets of Self Awareness
The modern world is one of challenge, fast paced thinking and moving; and requires that we stretch ourselves to grow, achieve and perform unlike any other time in our history. It’s no longer enough to “eat three squares”, get a good night sleep and maintain healthy personal habits. The modern man and woman who desire optimal health, stamina and energy (mental and physical) must acknowledge that optimal health requires a new level of thinking, dimension and attention. We’ve been conditioned to believe that “health” equates to the conventional terms of, “diet & exercise”…both of which are general in definition. Today however, the best adjectives to define ‘future health’ are [total] “wellness & nutrition”, and both are holistic in nature – as the definition of what optimal health is has certainly changed! Building a life with the bricks and mortar (and foundation) of optimal health and wellness begins with how we think, which reflects life in the way we feel – and ultimately what we believe our potential for optimal health is in life. When asking about the total fitness plan for me, you should always begin with the powerful and modern three-prong approach….”Lifestyle Fitness Plan.”
The modern approach and essential elements to achieve optimal health are:
- Physical Conditioning (A.K.A exercise) – as “exercise” today means many things, from free-weight training – circuit weight training, to hot yoga, transcendental mediation, breathing techniques; and smart devices that measure your conditioning results in real time.
- Mental & Emotional Conditioning (IQ/EQ) – Meditation, Mental Imagery, Visual Acuity, Memory Recall and maintaining a Positive State of Mind.
- Spiritual Conditioning (Beliefs, Outlook, Holistic World View) Though many attach this topic as exclusive to that of “God” – The base meaning is that of one’s connection to your connection to the universe; infinite intelligence, the super conscious mind, the soul and spirit, ‘Astral Projecting’, and what is referred to as ‘paranormal’ or that which we can’t see with our eyes.
With that said, the road to optimizing all of the above is through the practice of self-awareness first in the modern age. Research is beginning to prove that this is the most powerful holistic tool at your disposal to elevate your physical, mental and spiritual health. Practicing self-awareness is a fairly simple and convenient technique, and doesn’t require special skills or training, but it does require focus and practice. Additionally, it’s the portal to holistic wellness and it’s also completely free, it doesn’t involve doctor’s visits; and it is available at any time that you wish to engage in it. When designing “the total fitness plan for me”, take the time to measure and envision the results that you really want, and then wake and go to bed each day with that vision and mental picture in mind!
The practice of self-awareness is arguably the most effective means to understand your habits, innate behaviors, your values and most importantly, the mechanisms that trigger your stress responses to the outside world. As we ultimately “choose” the things that we decide stress us on a day to day basis through this self regulated path to deciding what we will allow stress ourselves, having the knowledge and ability to decode stress through self-awareness is one of the most valuable skills we can practice to powerfully improve health!
When effectively managing stress through self-awareness, we can then reduce or eliminate the symptoms that accompany stress; chronic pain, depression, anxiety, autoimmune function, addictions…. in overcoming these response-symptoms, we can restore balance and our response to all things. In the process of mastering self-awareness, we build the foundation to spiritual development and the mental health to control our behaviors and beliefs, which in turn, allow us to realize any result that we desire in terms of physical conditioning. The point being, that controlling stress is the portal to access the mind-body connection and achieve any physical result you desire!
Although self-awareness originated from the traditions practiced in Buddhism through the use of Eastern philosophy, the principles are not specific to any particular religious concern and are used by those of many beliefs and within the context of inner harmony and tranquility of the mind and body. The secret mind-body benefits within the mastery of self awareness are staggering and can become the transformational “hack” that you can leverage to accelerate effort, belief, vision, progress and the maintenance of your ideal conditioning of the Physical, Mental & Spiritual faculties.
The Building Blocks of Self-Awareness
At its core, self-awareness is the art of practicing personal awareness and engaging in conscious awareness of the present, which leads to identifying the cues of the sub conscious mind. Said another way, it is the application of conscious choice to shine light on real time awareness and experiencing present moment behaviors and decisions without personal judgment, or dwelling in the past or the future. In essence, self-awareness leads to self-compassion and the ability to give yourself a break for ‘failures’ as well as credit for accomplishments and success! Additionally, self-awareness provides the context and mental acuity to express genuine gratitude and appreciation for all that you have accomplished, for those who are in your life and for the simple things that we all take for granted.
When experiencing life in the present moment, and to the fullest capacity, you begin to realize that whether you’re experiencing positive or negative outcomes; painful or pleasing situations or somewhere in between, life experience is meant to be enjoyed, not compared with another, or judged. In simplest terms, self-awareness is a technique that enhances our ability to achieve optimal health, a positive outlook on life and spiritual awareness, but there’s more. As you practice and master self-awareness, it becomes integrated within the mind, and becomes a habitual belief of living life in a meaningful and robust way. Most find, as this becomes an elemental part of who they are, life begins to feel like a constant state of meditation.
How Self-Awareness Enriches Conditioning–
As self-awareness ultimately merges the fields of science and spirituality when practiced, it enhances both sides of the brain and therefore what you’re capable of achieving. Self-awareness then transforms into self-compassion and ultimately, a spiritual practice and strategy to improve every aspect of mental and physical health! Self-awareness has now become one of researches darlings and a topic of research and studies and has revealed many amazing traits about the brains function and response. Through the science of Neuro-imagery, we now understand that self awareness stimulates the frontal lobe of the brain, which in turn increases the promotion of the neurotransmitters which include dopamine, serotonin, GABA and endorphins, while also reducing your primary stress inducing neurotransmitter, norepinephrine.
Science and research has proven that neurotransmitters regulate mood states as well as our stress response system and in so doing, increases empathy, engagement, introspection, self-compassion and a sense of inner peace. Additionally, these mood regulating neurotransmitters support our propensity for relaxation, joy and pleasure, while tamping fear, anger, anxiety, and that dreadful S-word; stress. As the frontal lobe of the brain is centrally connected to the cerebral cortex and intellect, this relaxed state of being mitigates the pervasive stream of nervous thoughts and angst as a result. This section of the brain is also interlinked with the thalamus, which controls our sense of sensation. The frontal lobes influence the thalamus in a way that they guard the sensations allowed to reach the brain.
Putting Self Awareness Into Practice-
An excellent way in which to practice concept of “S-A” is through the simple process of sitting down for a meal – through the food you eat. The next time you sit down to eat (and you should always take the time to sit, relax and enjoy your meals) a meal, do so deliberately and experience every bite, its texture, aromas and flavor… as though you’re in deep meditation. Place your focus on the sensory experience of quietly chewing, imagining the shape and color of the food as you taste it; and quiet everything else around you as though nothing else exists. Quietly enjoy each piece of food that you place in your mouth, gently focus on the seasoning, the heat on your tongue and the temperature of the food as it enters your mouth. Be one with your meal and the space you’re in. Chew slowly, enjoy each bite and sit for 10-15 seconds between each new mini-experience. A healthy state of mind and deliberate slow-paced eating enhances your physically, emotionally and spiritually health.
What you’ll find in taking the time to eat in this new thoughtful manner is that food literally becomes an experience where flavors are heightened, more satisfying and enriching, which enhances your mood and feelings of well being. Additionally, this calm and thoughtful style of eating allows the bodies hormones to communicate with mind, letting you know when to stop and when you’re satiated. While you’re allowing time for your body to register satiety, your digestion is therefore enhanced, optimizing nutrient intake to the body and your mind is allowed to process the experience in a more balanced manner, which reduces the peaks and valleys of blood sugar shock, labored breathing and gastrointestinal stress. So as you can see, a new outlook and approach to improved health doesn’t even require that you move or exercise. You can improve your health from where you sit…while you’re eating…slowly!
Additional Secret Benefits of a Holistic Health Plan-
Reduction of Chronic Stress
Stress generally speaking is rampant in our society, and it’s a major contributor to the greatest killer of our time…heart disease. ‘Chronic’ stress is actually an autonomic nervous system dysfunction, in which the physical body stays in a fight or flight state on a consistent and intense basis. Relaxed self-awareness on the other hand directly reduces norepinephrine, which is the neurotransmitter involved in regulating stress and its impact on the body – by turning off the sympathetic nervous system while restoring the body to the preferred and regenerative parasympathetic state. The result is an almost immediate state of relaxation and the reduction of this chronic stress.
All Chronic Health Conditions
Self-awareness is exceptionally beneficial for several health conditions, which include adrenal fatigue, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure and insomnia. In fact, there are very few health conditions that don’t benefit from this practice and peaceful state. Chronic stress is a primary factor in the majority of chronic medical and psychiatric disorders, as it causes the body to break down at the cellular level. As self-awareness reduces stress and increases immune function, chronic conditions respond very favorably.
The Impact of Neurotransmitters
Irregularity in neurotransmitter function is an all to common result when high stress, poor nutrition and environmental toxins are present in ones life; and are often the cause of chronic psychiatric and medical conditions such as anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, insomnia, fatigue and addiction. Some studies even show that neurotransmission irregularity is even a contributor to gastrointestinal disorders and fibromyalgia. A harmonious state of elf-awareness boosts and balances the neurotransmitters that fire off dopamine, serotonin and endorphins while reducing norepinephrine; the neurotransmitter that promotes chronic stress.
Curing Your Chronic Pain
Restful self-awareness can alleviate chronic pain as powerfully and effectively as synthetic drugs. By mastering self-awareness and positively focusing on the source of the chronic pain visually, your can guide your awareness to help relieve and dissipate the pain within your body. Common sense would lead you to believe that focusing on the pain you’re experiencing would increase your pain – but the opposite is the case. The difference is that you’re positive awareness when focused on healing and envisioning the pain leaving your body as you heal and use dopamine and endorphins to immobilize the pain, you begin healing and feeling the benefit. This includes mitigating the pain of migraines, headaches, and joint pain.
Anxiety and Depression
As the source of anxiety and depression lie in disrupted or depleted neurotransmitters and self awareness is a natural and proven method of improving neurotransmitter production and function and reducing excessive norepinephrine, it is very effective for alleviating anxiety disorders and depression. This is true of most mental health conditions.
Spirituality and Inner Peace
In my definition of spirituality, the components we are trying to achieve include inner peace, contentedness with life, more meaning, depth and purpose in life, connectedness to self and the Universe and living more authentically. Our spiritual health is largely dependent on how neurotransmitters and the autonomic nervous system are functioning. As self-awareness works to improve neurotransmitter production and function, restore balance to the autonomic nervous system; it empowers you to explore your spirituality and quiet your mind. And as you harmonize in the now, and quiet all around you, it enhances the peace within you and your quality of life. As this new awareness stimulates your mind as well as the neurotransmitters that generate creativity, you begin to look at life differently as well as feel differently. Typically, creative thoughts and new ideas begin to flow naturally and easily. As your creative sense becomes natural and intuitive within you, you’ll begin
When you are more mindful in your relationships, they are deeper, more meaningful and satisfying. The people in your life feel more appreciated, important and valued, which promotes more harmonious and happier connections.
Insomnia and Disrupted Sleep
Studies have found self-awareness to be of significant help with insomnia and disrupted sleep patterns. The direct effect it has on neurotransmitters and the autonomic nervous system provide the body and brain with the ability to turn off the sympathetic nervous system and relax, the primary cause of sleep problems. Other studies have found that self-awareness stimulates melatonin, the hormone we need in order to sleep. Deep breathing exercises also stimulate melatonin, and since it is often combined with self-awareness, you get two powerful melatonin stimulators simultaneously. I certainly have found this to be true, as I use self-awareness and deep breathing every night when I go to bed and it puts me to sleep in minutes. I often fall asleep during the day if I lie down to do my self-awareness meditation and deep breathing exercises.
Self-Awareness Based Meditation
Although self-awareness is sometimes referred to as simple mental awareness, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the practice of self-awareness is the first phase of meditation. However, engaging in the formal act of meditation using self-awareness provides deeper results as the impact on the frontal lobes of the brain and the autonomic nervous system is increased. You can learn how to do self-awareness based meditation and begin reaping the many benefits in a few short minutes.
The miracle of self-awareness is that it minimizes the experiences we typically consider negative that cause suffering like, pain, depression, grief, sadness, trauma and anxiety, but it enhances the experiences we typically consider pleasurable, like joy, happiness, peace, serenity, simultaneously, thus providing us with a more meaningful and richer life.
Now take these principles and apply them to all your life experiences. Self-awareness can be practiced in every area of your life that you can think of; when making love, spending time with nature, taking a walk, cleaning the house, working, writing, gardening, watching a movie, washing the dishes, listening to music, breathing, drinking water, etc. Virtually everything and anything you do can be done in a more mindful manner. By being fully present and aware of each experience, even the pain and discomfort, and quieting our inner dialogue, we live a deeper, richer and more fulfilling life and optimize our health physically, emotionally and spiritually, simultaneously. Whether you’re looking to improve a health condition that already exists or protect your health from future problems, the benefits are abundant, cost-effective, practical and accessible to everyone at all times. However, it’s important to be aware that self-awareness is most effective when it is part of a comprehensive and holistic plan to optimize your “whole health.”
The benefits will be most abundant when it is used in conjunction with a physical conditioning and holistic nutritional plan, avoidance of environmental toxins and the appropriate combination of herbal supplements. This is essential due to the fact that environmental toxins impair neurotransmitters and optimal functioning of the mind, body and spirit. If your brain isn’t healthy, then being mindful can be difficult to achieve. Although self-awareness promotes a healthy brain, it has nothing to work with if it’s nutrient deficient and flooded with toxins. The three together (self-awareness, diet and clean environment) support one another and enhance the effectiveness of each other. The top bodybuilding supplements available online are often difficult to find as many pass off filler based an inferior synthetic based ‘vitamins’ as natural supplements, which simply don’t perform like naturally based herbal supplements.
Studies show that people who stay mentally and physically active enjoy a higher quality of life overall than those who practice poor quality nutritional and sedentary lifestyles – and reap numerous benefits which among them include:
- Stronger ability to stave off illnesses such as diabetes
- Quicker recovery from illnesses, injuries, and surgeries—and a more positive outlook during recovery
- Reduced risk of many cancers, including breast and colon cancer
- Improved overall cardiovascular health due to increased strength and resiliency in the heart muscle, arteries, and blood vessels
- Higher levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL – the good cholesterol)
- More efficient metabolism
- Decreased depression, anxiety, and stress
- Improved mental ability. Studies suggest that people who start exercising in their 60s can significantly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in their 70s; the risk drops even further if they start exercising in their 40s or 50s
- Improved confidence and a feeling of independence
- Despite all these positives, only 3 in 10 American adults get the recommended amount of physical activity, according to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
The top bodybuilding supplements available online can make the difference between average results and WOW results, so it is essential to make this an integral component of your Lifestyle plan. When adding the benefits of practicing harmonious self-awareness, the trends in using natural herbal supplements the and movement to seeking out holistic therapy and holistic physician personal care, the statistics and results are culminating to show clear signs that the status quo in health care and wellness are changing! Building the bricks and mortar of new age health is first, allowing yourself to believe in the new natural technologies that are challenging the status quo. Uncomfortable for most, this is the new awareness that will guide us to new heights and natural healing that is created from the inside out! All one has to do is see the trends in black and white to understand that the world is changing, our values and beliefs in what is natural, possible and that self-healing has been practiced for thousands of years, and we simply lost site of this powerful and natural means of healing ourselves and one another.
Mastering Self Awareness
Review the following facts to better understand how the ideal of health and wellness has evolved over the past decade:
- According to a CNN study, nearly 50% of all medical schools now offer courses in holistic health care.
- 12 percent of Fortune 500 companies offer alternative medicine as part of their health care compensation packages. That percentage increased to 18 percent in 1996.
- One third of American medical schools-among (including Harvard, Yale, John’s Hopkins, and Georgetown Universities) offer coursework in holistic methods.
- There are five homeopathic hospitals in Great British National Service.
- One of three drugs prescribed in Germany is made of an herb base.
- The World Health Organization estimates that 65 to 80 percent of the world’s population (about 3 billion people) relies on holistic medicine as their primary form of health care.
- In 2003, American consumers spent almost $3.5 billion dollars on herbal remedies-ten times more than was spent on over-the-counter sleeping pills from grocery stores and drug stores.
- Approximately $22 million of U.S. government money has already been spent on alternative medical research since 1992 at the National Institutes of Health and Public Health Services.
- Traditional Chinese Medicine has been chosen by the World Health Organization for worldwide propagation to meet the health care needs of the twenty-first century.
- Mutual of Omaha saves about $6.50 in covering non-standard (holistic) treatments.
- 10% of Americans are under the care of a chiropractor.
- By the early 21st century, Americans made more visits to unconventional health care providers (425 million) than to conventional doctors (388 million.)
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) a nationwide government survey of more than 31,000 adults on their use of complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) showed that 36 percent of U.S. adults use some form of CAM.
- The World Health Organization estimates that between 65 to 80 percent of the world’s population (about 3 billion people) rely on naturopathic or homeopathic medicine as their primary form of health care.
- Worldwide, only 10 to 30 percent of people use traditional medicine, 70 to 90 percent use naturopathic and homeopathic health care.
- 74 percent of the American population desires a natural approach to health care.
- Of the one out of three Americans who say they have used natural techniques, 84 percent said they would use it again.
- The U.S. government sponsors the use of acupuncture in drug rehabilitation programs.
- “In a [Mayo Clinic] study of 50 patients, six acupuncture treatments given over two to three weeks significantly improved their symptoms of pain and fatigue.” Time, 2005
- The American Medical Association (AMA), in Resolution #514, “is encouraging its members to become better informed relative to holistic medicine and to participate in studies of it.
- “Americans make more visits to holistic health care providers (some 600 million a year) than to M.D.s and spend more money out-of-pocket to do so about $30 billion a year by recent estimates.” Newsweek, 12/2002
It is exciting to note the increasing acceptance and visibility of alternative medicine and complementary forms of healing. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) defines alternative medicine as “a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine.” Natural health degrees and holistic health careers have recently surged in response to society’s focus on improved quality of life and Western health care alternatives.
Review the statistics regarding the popularity of natural health degrees and careers:
- In 2012, 33.2 percent of U.S. adults used complementary health approaches. This is similar to the percentages in 2007 (35.5 percent) and 2002 (32.3 percent).
- Fish oil was the #1 natural product among adults, with 7.8 percent using it in 2012.
- Nearly three fourths of U.S. medical schools offer elective courses in natural and alternative medicine or include it in required courses.
- The percentage of adults who practice yoga has increased substantially, from 5.1 percent in 2002 to 6.1 percent in 2007 and 9.5 percent in 2012.
- 56 percent of people have received a massage for one or more of the following reasons: Soreness, stiffness or spasms, to relieve or manage stress, for prevention or to improve quality of life, injury recovery or rehabilitation, to keep fit or healthy/maintain wellness, or to control headaches or migraines.
- A 2014 report, which polled professionals and patients, and was developed by the American Massage Therapy Association, notes the high acceptance of massage as a healing art in the U.S.:
- 92 percent agree that massage can be effective in reducing pain.
- 91 percent agree that massage can be beneficial to health and wellness.
- 74 percent of consumers agree that massage therapy should be considered a form of health care.
- 75% of practitioners started practicing massage therapy as a second career.
In the end, we all build our foundation based on our beliefs, our faith in who and what we are, and the passion we dedicate to live in the now. The world is changing, and this new age of enlightenment has provided the opportunity for all of us to see life differently. We encourage everyone to seek new knowledge, discover who you really are and what you really want relative to health, harmony and happiness. As it’s true that you are what you think about most of the time, isn’t it time that you enthusiastically focus on the person you want to be and the life you really want to live? We believe that the answer is a resounding yes! Don’t wait another day, as the bricks and mortar built life is one that makes you strong, resilient and prepares you to respond positively to anything that occurs in your life! To find opportunity in adversity, and to feel incredible as a result of what you think, what you do and how you choose to live your life is one of the most beautiful experiences one can have.
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Posted on: May 20, 2015, by : admin