By Brittany Prijatel – Cognitive FX Sports Psychology Consultant
The pinnacle of improvement is awareness. Before you can implement any sort of mental skills or techniques to help manage daily symptoms, it is important to understand the biggest piece of the puzzle is cultivating awareness.
Awareness allows you to understand your symptoms as well as what may trigger them. This empowers you to create a better situation, a better day, and a better life. After EPIC Treatment it is important that you practice and use awareness to continue improving.
5 Ways to Practice Awareness & Improve Your Daily Life
- Recognize Symptom Triggers
There can be different triggers for different people. For example, difficulty sleeping with too much exposure to light before bed, feeling anxiety when there are too many things going on at once, or even stressing out when you do not feel in control. Awareness is the ability to see and make connections between your surroundings, the situation, and your symptoms. As you begin to practice this new skill, you can begin to improve your response to symptom triggers.
- Put a Plan in Place to Overcome Triggers
Once you recognize triggers, you can then create a plan to put yourself in a better space to better handle your triggers. For example, if you know that too much exposure to light in the evening influences your inability to sleep you can implement a plan to turn off your phone, TV, and iPad a couple hours before you go to sleep.
- Start Small
Awareness takes time and effort. As you develop this skill, recognize that small steps are still improvements.
- Focus on Your Breathing
Bring attention to your breath for 10 seconds…20 seconds…30 seconds…etc. Take time to focus solely on your breathing, if your mind begins to wander, bring it back to your breath as you inhale and exhale. Cultivating awareness can begin with focusing on your breath and as awareness develops, being able to quickly recognize when your mind is wandering to bring your focus back to breathing.
- Don’t Judge Yourself
As a skill, you will not be able to cultivate awareness overnight, and so it is important to not judge yourself as you practice. Focus more on the small wins and the steps you are taking rather than being perfect at this skill.
As you cultivate awareness, you can use your attention to identify symptom triggers. If you understand how your body and brain respond to triggers or situations that are difficult to handle, you can adapt to put yourself in a better situation.
As you go through your day, you can begin to recognize if a symptom or feeling is linked to a specific reason or situation, then you can take the proper steps to improve that situation. This make take some time and a few tries to get the right response, but do not give up and remember that a small step in the right direction is still a step in the right direction.
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