Give Yourself the Gift of Happiness - Practice Self Awareness

Updated: Jun 20, 2019

In my last blog post I shared how it important it was to take 100% ownership of you life and take personal responsibility for your current situation to find happiness.

Part of personal responsibility is self awareness. Understand yourself and how you react to various situations or emotional triggers.

The great management consultant and educator Peter Drucker has a famous saying….

“What gets measured gets managed.”

This includes our emotional health. 99% of people go through life without measuring their performance or happiness. They simply try to react to life as it happens.

Going through each day hoping that they hit the happiness jackpot. Never stopping long enough to consider what brings them joy or what makes them truly happy.

It’s possible to move from this reactionary state and be more proactive in creating a healthy and productive emotional state for yourself. It starts by understanding how you respond to life’s events and failures.

One way to become more self aware is to keep track of your moods in a journal like this one by Doro Ottoman entitled Ups and Downs.

Tracking your moods can help you to work out what positively and negatively affects your mental wellbeing. You can then take steps to avoid, change or prepare for negative situations.

But, you don't have to have fancy journal to track your moods. You can simply capture how you are feeling at any given moment in your notes section on your phone or writing it in a plan journal.

The important thing is to actually take the time to capture how you are feeling and what might have triggered that feeling. When we have a physical injury we identify where it came from. What did I do that made me sore? The same is can be done for our emotional state. When ever we start to feel depressed, or anxious it's important to identifying the triggers.

Take note of the circumstances surrounding depressive episodes or anxiety attacks.

  • What did I eat?

  • What was I listening too?

  • How much sleep did I get?

  • Who was I spending time with?

  • What did the room smell like?

These can all be powerful triggers for our emotions and once we know how we react to the triggers we can work on altering our interactions with those triggers or rebuilding our response to them. If your default reaction is negativity for example, you can rebuild your default response and make it positive.

Our diets can have tremendous impact on our mental state. Snickers built a whole advertising campaign around this idea and it worked because we all know people who snap when they are hungry.

But it's not just being hungry that causes issues. What we consume can have an impact as well. Its not a one size fits all either. What may be perfectly fine for me to consume may cause someone else to feel a completely different way. I can consume a pot of coffee before going to bed and sleep like a baby. My wife has to stop before lunch or risk being up all night.

Our sleep and eating patterns can play critical roles in our ability to handle stress.

Just ask my wife and kids. If I don’t get enough quality sleep or eat at regular intervals I tend to get very grumpy. I am impatient and less likely to deal with circumstances in a positive manner.

However, knowing this about myself allows me to be proactive and guard against entering into this negative mental states.

Dave Quinn, CEcD is Chief Inspiration Officer for and President of City Services for Day One Experts, an economic development consulting firm specializing in economic development consulting to companies, communities, and organizations. If you'd like to set up a time to visit with Dave about possible speaking engagements or to find out more about becoming a member of the Day One family click here to set up a 30-minute discovery call.

Dave is a passionate keynote speaker and coach, encouraging others to be a positive influence in the world around them. As an economic development mastermind, wellness advocate and vision caster, he loves inspiring others through talks on Leadership, Wellness, Economic Development, and Personal Responsibility. Connect with him in the social media world: TwitterInstagram, and others @DaveQuinn247.