Can you spare a moment in your jam-packed day to think about that? Your first inclination is likely to stop reading right here but the truth is, this one post could be the most important thing you’ll read in a lifetime. It’s simply about conscious awareness. Not that nagging little notion in the back of our minds remining us of things we know we should do or change. No, I’m talking about turning the focus on how we think and reevaluating priorities. Too overwhelmed and reading this adds to the overwhelm?  Then you absolutely need to keep reading.

I’ve been where you are, so busy that I wanted to shut down, deny, avoid and distract just to make it through the work week. Weekends and vacations flew by. And on the reverse, I’ve tried the self-help gamut with no lasting results and at the end of the day capitalism is thriving upon our despair and dysfunction.

So how did I change my life, with an open mind and by seriously asking a few simple questions and answering them with brutal honesty; how I was feeling and what did I really want in life. It started with basic emotional awareness and prioritizing what’s really important. The difference was I looked to myself for the answers rather than an outside quick fix. The truth lies in the one place we’ve all been taught to sweep under the rug and ignore, our emotions, the thing we often want to avoid like the plague. But that’s not our faults, because over the generations, as life has become so complex, we’ve not been taught to understand ourselves emotionally. Yet, we are sent out into life as adults as if emotions are innate, they are not. We’ve missed the point, emotions are meant to be fleeting, a GPS through life that guides us, not something to fear or ignore.

Throughout our day, each thought has the potential to create an emotion, ignoring them, not processing them creates anxiety adding to our stress. On top of that when a repressed emotion is triggered, low level anxiety arises and without proper coping skills we rely upon dysfunctional behavior to manage that. The more we ignore ourselves and how we feel about things the more stress and anxiety we add. Emotional pain is no different than physical pain, it needs healing. This is the root of much dysfunctional behavior, anxiety, addiction and disorders often have roots in the pain, fear, insecurity and limiting beliefs caused by repressing emotions and conditioning.

So what can we do? You’ve already begun, just by giving yourself the time to read these four simple paragraphs. It begins with simple awareness. And it grows with an open mind, one that can allow you to see beyond the craziness of the day and will allow you to give yourself permission to start to feel. You don’t need to take a course, or meditate, simply begin by allowing yourself a few minutes during the day to breathe and notice what’s going on inside you! The relationship you have with yourself is the most important one in your life. Emotional self-awareness is the very best gift you can give yourself and everyone else including the planet. It starts here, today and continues as you gain new perspective and interest and the rewards are astonishing.

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Penny Payton.