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Mindfulness is a natural state of being. Throughout our lives we are frequently in this state without realizing it. If you have ever heard a noise at night and went to investigate, the level of attention that you bring to that situation is a good example of being mindful. However, we frequently divide our attention and, by necessity, we will selectively ignore aspects of our environment. When watching a sporting event on television, for example, a particularly enrapt fan might tune out conversation that is occurring around him or her in order to pay closer attention to the game. If the sports fanatics in this scenario consciously thought about paying attention to the conversations around them rather than the game on television, they could. In this sense, mindfulness is a mental skill that you can develop through practice.
When practicing mindfulness, whether through meditation or in a given moment, you want to pay attention to whatever comes up. For example, when you focus on your breath, note whether you are breathing in deeply or shallowly. Is your breath cold or warm? Fast or slow? Through your mouth or nose? If you feel pain somewhere, focus on that pain, note how it comes and goes or intensifies or subsides. You may notice aspects of breathing that you never have considered before. In fact whenever we are in any environment, we only pay conscious attention to a small number of details, typically.
When you meditate for mindfulness, or find yourself in a mindful state, it is important to accept things as they are without judgment. At some point, you may decide to act to change things, but initially you want to accept what you experience for what it is. Most religious thought includes some form of acceptance, whether it is the Christian view of surrendering your will to all God’s will to be done, or the Islamic view that you must submit to Allah. By accepting things as they are, you allow yourself to remain open to a wider range of possibilities. So, for instance, when you meditate, do not do so with a goal in mind, as if you are trying to change yourself from one state to another. This may happen anyway, but that’s a side effect. Instead, think of the meditation as an opportunity to observe how things change and how they don’t change with the passage of time. Mindfulness is an act of observation rather than an attempt to change something. While you may determine later that a change is in order, initially you want to take a moment to observe how things are first.
The best way to practice being mindful is through a regular program of meditation. Keep in mind that not all meditations are for the purpose of making you more mindful. Transcendental meditation and mantra meditation might increase mindfulness as a side effect, but these aim at an entirely different result. Furthermore, there are numerous methods of meditating that do aim at improved mindfulness. Some techniques take some time to learn. For example, Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) approach involves taking an eight week course where you go through guided meditations. This can get expensive and time consuming. However if you are interested in a self-directed version of Kabat-Zinn’s course as an additional supplement to this course, you can follow the link at the bottom of this section.
The different approaches to mindfulness meditation typically focus on the following three attributes:
- Your body
- Your breath
- Your thoughts
One technique that Kabat-Zinn’s approach to mindfulness meditation includes is called scanning, or body scanning. Once you are used to it, you can do it without the need for a guided meditation, but one option for beginners is to record your voice talking yourself through the body scan. You start by lying down on your back in a comfortable space. Focus your attention on the toes of your left foot and noting anything you observe. You then move your focus to the sole of your left foot, your heel, and the top of your left foot. Then you move your focus up your left leg – your ankle, your calf, your knee, your thigh, and finally your left hip. At this point, you do the same with your right foot and leg all the way up to your right hip. Once you have moved your focus up both legs, focus on your mid-section – pelvis, hips, groin, and buttocks – and then move your focus up your main torso – lower back, stomach, insides. At each point focus on how this part of you feels – are your muscles tense? Do you feel any pain, aches, coldness, warmth, etc.? Move your focus up the rest of your torso – your solar plexus, chest, breasts, spine, shoulder blades and shoulders. Once your focus has reached your shoulders, move your focus down the length of your left arm – your shoulder, bicep, elbow, forearm, hand, and fingers. Then do the same to your right arm. Finally we focus on the neck and head. Focus on your jaw, your cheeks and ears, eyes, forehead, back of the head, and finally top of the head. Once you have completed the scan, you can remain in this state for as long as you choose.
Four D Model
Appreciative inquiry opens whole new doors for us and opens our eyes to a new way of thinking. With positive thoughts and attitudes, we can discover new ways of reaching our goals. We can be free to dream new ambitions and set ourselves up for success. After a plan is made, we can design how to reach that goal and deliver the end result to us. Yes, we can accomplish all of this if we just believe that we have the skills and confidence to do it.
Discovery is about finding what type of processes, organization and skills work for you and will help you along your way. It is also a process of learning to appreciate what has been given to us and using it to our benefit. Employees often discover some of this information by speaking with other employees and learning about what has worked for the company in the past. This can lead employees to feel more appreciative about their role in the company and what they can do to make meaningful contributions.
- Conversing with other employees about their experiences
- Asking managers what methods have worked in the past
- Observing your past actions that have been successful
The dream phase focuses on what would work for yourself and the company in the future. This ‘dream session’ can be run in a large group conference or can be done with a few peers. Either way, it should allow everyone to open up about what they want to see from the company and any ideas they may have for improvement. The idea of the ‘dream’ part of this model is to use positive energy to create a vision for the future, while creating goals and accomplishments that will help you, and the company, reach that point. Dream up the ideal and perfect situation.
- “Would this work in the future?”
- “What do I want to see happen?”
- “What would be perfect for me and the company?”
The design plan is all about how you and the company plan to reach the goals and dreams that are lined out in the discovery and dream phases. This part of the model focuses on what needs to be done to reach these goals and reach the progress needed. Generally this part is carried out by a small group of members that concentrate on how to move forward, but it can be done with larger groups as well. Anyone in this group is encouraged to remember to use positive language and encourage their coworkers to think positive in their work.
- “What do we need to do to make this happen?”
- “Will things needed to be changed or altered?”
- “Do we need to introduce a new element?”
The delivery phase, sometimes called the destiny phase, is the final stage of the Four D model, and focuses on executing the plans and ideas that were thought out and developed in the previous phases. In this part of the model, employees need to take the necessary actions to progress toward change and positively obtaining their goals. A plan isn’t worth the paper it is written on if it doesn’t have a dynamic team behind it to carry it out.
- Implement any changes needed
- Remove elements that no longer work
- Assign tasks and duties as needed
What is MLearning?
Mobile learning, or MLearning, is defined as the delivery of learning, education or training on mobile devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops or PDAs. MLearning allows training and support to be taken anywhere, making it flexible and convenient for companies to use. Many businesses are taking advantage of this new technology to educate employees and clients more efficiently.
MLearning is most commonly used for training and education purposes. The majority of training or learning in the workplace occurs on the job. However, it can be costly and time consuming to require employees to attend meetings, conferences or other training sessions away from work. Recently, many businesses have begun to implement MLearning, which allows employees to stay in the workplace to acquire additional training or knowledge. With MLearning, employees can gain new knowledge faster and be more up-to-date on any changes or company additions.
MLearning has also become a helpful tool in training new employees, since it allows for the company to reduce group or individual training sessions and allow the employee to learn on their own terms. Not only does this allow the company to save on training hours, but allows the training manager to evaluate which employees are ready to begin work and which ones may need more help before starting on their own.
The MLearning environment refers to the manner in which information is available for a particular session, such as how it is organized, what information is available and how it can be accessed. The environments in MLearning are different with every use and can be customized to a particular learner’s needs. The environment should be flexible and adjustable among different devices – meaning what can be seen/accessed on a mobile phone should also be accessible on a tablet or laptop computer. If the MLearning environment is not user-friendly or if the information is hard to read or download, the learner won’t be able to gain anything from their session, which cancels the point of training at all.
Tips for MLearning environment:
- Keep information organized
- Ensure all information is easily accessible on all mobile devices
- Always have a contact for technical support
Technology has changed the way we receive information. Computers have replaced reference books when it comes to learning new material, and now mobile devices are changing how we access information that has already been digitized. One of the key aspects of MLearning is using these mobile tools to access new information for education and training purposes. These MLearning tools allow learners to access the information needed from anywhere and at any time. Many of the devices used have become a common household need, such as mobile phones, notebook computers and even MP3 players. With technology on the rise, employees are more than likely to own at least one mobile learning tool they can use for future MLearning.
Common MLearning tools:
- Mobile phone
- MP3 players
- Notebook/laptop computers
- Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)
The prospect of MLearning has created a long list of the advantages it can bring to a company. One of the most obvious advantages is the flexibility and convenience of using MLearning and accessing information at any time – anywhere. But MLearning also allows the content to be customized to the learner, and can benefit different types of learners (i.e. visual learners, auditory learners, spatial learners, etc.). Since people take their mobile devices wherever they go, MLearning allows users to make use of their spare time, or ‘dead time’, such as while standing in line at the bank, waiting for the bus or even in between meetings/projects.
- Convenience and flexibility
- Customized learning
- Makes good use of spare time
- Tailored to different learning styles
- Larger access to information
Plan Ahead for Happiness
Most of us spend more time at work than we do engaged in any other activity other than sleeping. If we consider how much of our lives we spend in our workplace, it quickly becomes clear that spending this time unhappy, unfulfilled, and just counting the days until the weekend is a waste of time and energy. Finding ways to be happier at work can not only lead to better mental health, but can improve your productivity and overall work performance. One key way to cultivate more happiness at work is to plan for it! Develop habits that get your workday off to the right start, and you’ll see greater happiness throughout the day and week.
Have a Nightly Routine
Nothing gets your day off on the wrong foot like rushing around in the morning! Lost keys, skipping breakfast, discovering that the pants you wanted to wear are not back from the dry cleaner – all this can throw your morning into chaos. Taking time the night before to organize what you need for the next day can help avoid this morning rush and let you start your day centered, organized, and with everything you need. Create a nightly routine – and follow it! Choose your clothes for the next day, set up your coffee maker (especially if it has a timer and automatic brew!), pack your lunch. Take time to place the things you will need for work the next day in your briefcase or bag. You might even choose a space near the door to be your “launch pad,” a space where everything you need for the day is in one place and easy to pick up. Your routine will vary depending on what you need each day, what your workday looks like, and what the needs of your family are. It might even help to make yourself a checklist until the routine truly becomes a habit.
Get at Least 8 Hours of Sleep
Sleep deprivation is bad for your mental, emotional, and physical health. It’s hard to feel productive, happy, and positive when you’re exhausted! Making sure that you get at least 8 hours of quality sleep per night is one step you can take to help prepare yourself to be happier and healthier, both at work and in the rest of your life. Many of us are used to running on just a few hours of sleep, or to getting sleep that isn’t truly restful. There are a few steps you can take to ensure that you get the most restful sleep possible and wake up ready to face the day with a positive attitude.
Steps to Quality Sleep:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day – including weekends.
- Have a nightly routine that prepares you for bed – shower, tooth brushing, prayer or meditation, etc.
- Put away the electronic devices!
- Make your bedroom a sanctuary.
Wake Up Early Enough for Some “Me” Time
Getting enough sleep is important, but waking up early enough so that you have time to transition into your day can also help foster happiness. If you usually hit the ground running and leave the house with just enough time to make it to the office on time, you are kicking your day off with anxiety. Waking up even 15 minutes earlier so that you can have some “me” time can help you ease into your day with a sense of centeredness instead of a sense of panic. Some people like to wake up very early and have an hour or more of “me” time, while others just need an extra 10 or 15 minutes to linger over a cup of coffee or tea. Figure out what works for you!
Ways to Use Your “Me” Time:
- Read the newspaper or a passage from a book you are enjoying.
- Pray or meditate.
- Do some light stretching or yoga.
- Linger over your coffee, tea, or breakfast.
- Spend time stroking your pet.
It’s important not to use your “me” time to get a head start on your work day by reading emails, working on projects, or checking voicemail!
Give Yourself Time to Arrive at Work Early
Commuting is often the most stressful part of the workday. Whether you drive, walk, bike, or take public transit to work, delays and traffic jams can get your day off to a stressful start. Too often we make this worse on ourselves by leaving for work at the last possible moment, meaning there’s no room for error, and that we arrive at work with only moments to spare before we have to jump into our first project or meeting. All this can leave us frazzled, anxious, and short-tempered. Altering your morning commute so that you can arrive 10 to 15 minutes early for work helps you ease into your workday instead of having to throw yourself right in. And giving yourself that cushion can also give you much-needed wiggle room in your commute to account for the unexpected. When you arrive early, you have time to transition gradually into your work — check email, get a cup of coffee, check your schedule and to do list, or simply say good morning to your coworkers. This helps you meet the day in a positive frame of mind.
For more information on our “Increasing Your Happiness” course: https://corporatetrainingmaterials.com/course/Increasing_Your_Happiness
Essential Skills for Successful Coaching
Life coaching is a profession that is designed to offer guidance and boost confidence in individuals to help them make empowered decisions and reach their goals. The life coach must possess a variety of skills in order to help their client, such as good listening and communication skills, organization skills and the ability to offer guidance and direction.
Listen with Curiosity
Great listening skills are important for life coaching skills, but listening with curiosity goes deeper and portrays an actual interest in what the client is saying. Listening with curiosity is considered a vital tool in any coaching dialogue or team (coach and client) discussion. When we listen to other normally, there is usually a sense of impatient and lack of attention while we try to determine what we want to say or input into the conversation once the other person has stopped speaking. Sometimes we focus so much on what our answer will be that we do not give our full attention to the question in the first place. This thought process can hinder the dialogue or conversation between people and can negatively affect communication skills. Instead, whether the coach or the client, take a valid interest in the other person and devote your attention to them while they speak. Life coaches shouldn’t do all of the talking, but be able to pace the conversation and keep the client focused on the topic if needed. They will be more willing to open up if they feel you are genuinely curious in what they have to say.
Take in What You Hear
Listening with curiosity may be the first step in being a great life coach, but it doesn’t end there. The life coach or the client may be genuinely curious as to what the other person has to say and may want to be involved, but the information means nothing if it is not taken in when it was heard. The information should not – as the old saying goes – “Go in one ear and out the other”. The listener should not only be listening to the other person, but they should be taking in and registering what the other person is saying – actually hearing the words, recognizing gestures and feeling emotions. For life coaches, this includes being able to listen to the client and not only listening to the words they say, but what they are trying to get across with their words. The client may sound happy when they talk about their job, but then they change their tone when discussing their job duties. The life coach may need to pace and steer the conversation so they client does not wander off topic when talking.
Reflect with Accuracy
Reflective listening is a common tool used when two people are having a conversation. Reflective listening involves actively listening to a person and then reflecting or ‘mirroring’ back what you heard. This not only helps with obtaining clarity, but also shows the other person that you were listening and are hearing what they are saying. It also allows the other person to hear what was said to them and can portray to them what they are putting out there – and if it was what they meant to say or not. In life coaching, it is always important to clarify and reflect what the other person is saying because it is not uncommon to mishear or misunderstand what a person is trying to get across and derail any target or goal plan.
Methods of reflecting:
- Repeating words or phrases
Questioning for Exploration
No matter how well we listen or how well we reflect and mirror information, there are chances that something will be missed or unclear. That is why it is important to utilize asking questions and use them to further explore the conversation. The use of active listening and using questions further creates a more productive dialogue between the life coach and the client. Life coaches should use open ended questions with their client in order to draw out more structured answers other than ‘yes’ or ‘no’. These types of questions allow the client to search within themselves and create a more thoughtful and personalized answers. Also, when the client is able to bring out these answers for themselves, they feel more empowered and confident about what they share and will be more willing to participate since they provided the answers themselves instead of blindly taking it from someone else. From these questions and answers, the life coach can better offer various forms of feedback as well as guidance and help with their development and growth.
For more information on our Life Coaching course, please visit: https://corporatetrainingmaterials.com/pages/training_library
Using Proper Phone Language
Every environment we enter requires a different form of ‘language’. For instance, we wouldn’t enter a team meeting with the same type of language we use in the break room. The same is true for the telephone. Telephone language is different than our everyday language and can take some time to get used to its flow. But with the right tools, it can be easy to adapt in no time.
Please and Thank You
Using good etiquette is a way to show respect and consideration to those we interact with. Some of the basic essentials of proper etiquette are phrases such as “Please” and “Thank you”. When asking the caller for something, such as their name or account number, always follow with “please”. After the customer has given something to you or says something polite, follow with “thank you” to show your appreciation for their help. Using “Please” and “Thank you” when speaking with a customer allows the operator to remain professional while still showing courtesy and respect.
- “May I have your name, please?”
- “Please hold for one moment, Mr. Smith.”
- “Thank you for your time today.”
Do Not Use Slang
Slang is typically defined as a type of language that consists of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal and are used in everyday speech. Common examples include “Yeah”, “Y’all”, “I guess so”, and “ain’t”. Slang is not appropriate to use on the telephone and should not be used, even if we know the caller. Slang language implies inconsideration and disrespect to the caller and can make them feel as though you do not want take your time to help them. It is important to always use professional and courteous language in order to convey to the caller that you are there to help and can get the job done.
Avoid Using the Term “You”
When speaking with someone on the telephone, it can be easy to get lost in speaking with the caller and letting them know what they may need to do on their end. However, it is important for the operator to avoid using the term “you” excessively. When we continuously use the term ‘you’, in reference to the caller, it sends the message that everything is their responsibility and that the person on the other end of the line is not there to help them. If we continuously tell them they have to complete a task before we can help them, the company not only looks unprofessional, but unwilling to do business with them.
Avoid phrases such as:
- “You will need to call back tomorrow.”
- “You have to take your bill to the other office.”
- “I need you to come into the office for that.”
Emphasize What You Can Do, Not What You Can’t
When we are speaking with someone on the phone, for any reason, it can be hard to communicate what the caller wants or needs from the operator. Sometimes the operator is quick to tell the caller that they cannot complete a certain task or that they cannot help them at all – but this type of attitude does not build relationships. Flatly telling someone you cannot do anything for them shuts the door on negotiations and portrays a negative light on the company. Instead, emphasize what you can do for the caller. Offer ‘favors’ or alternate tasks you can do for them to help them get what they need. If you’re genuinely not able to answer their questions or do something for them, it’s alright to let them know that, but offer an alternative action for them, such as finding someone who can help.
- “I can help you with that.”
- “I’ll be happy to transfer you to the department.”
- “I can take a message if you’d like.”
- “I don’t know the answer, but let me find someone that does.”
For more on our Telephone Etiquette course, please visit: https://corporatetrainingmaterials.com/course/Telephone_Etiquette
Establishing Performance Goals
Performance goals require strategic action. To be effective, these goals should not be handed down to employees. It is important to include employees in the goal setting process and encourage them to meet their individual performance goals. This will improve individual and company performance.
A strategic plan determines where employees are, where they want to be, and how they will get there. It should embrace the values of the organization and align with the following company information. The organization must create a strategic plan before creating performance goals.
Company Strategic Plan:
Employee performance goals need to consider the company’s strategic plan. Individual performance goals must be SMART goals that include strategies and actions for employees to take.
Example Goal: Stay informed about innovations in the industry, it can help improve productivity by 10 percent this year.
Examples of Actions:
- Attend training classes
- Meet with a mentor
- Communicate consistently
A job analysis determines what is required to do a specific job. It will help determine which skills and attributes an employee needs to complete a job successfully. A job analysis will help determine who to hire, how to train, and what compensation a job should receive. Job analyses are instrumental in determining performance. Research a position to determine the following information:
- Tools or systems used
- Reporting requirements
- Necessary certification
Performance goals need to be SMART goals. They need to address behavior, competency, and results. Remember to involve employees in their performance goals.
Examples of Goals:
- Behavior: Employees have complained about distance. Communicate with employees in person every week, rather than just sending emails.
- Competency: New equipment is being installed. Perform all the training within three weeks.
- Results: Sales are down. Increase sales by 5 percent this quarter.
Performance is related to motivation. Motivation is the job of every leader. There is not a single method for motivating employees. People have different personal motives, and leaders must meet the needs of individuals.
- Lead by example: Motivate yourself before you can motivate others.
- Meet with individuals: Communicate with employees directly to find out what motivates them.
- Reward employees: Find motivating rewards for individuals.
- Delegate: Do not micromanage employees.
- Inform: Inform people about how they are making a difference in the organization.
- Celebrate: Pay attention to achievements and celebrate with employees.
For more on our Performance Management course, please visit:
Communicate to Motivate
Studies show that organizations with open, frequent communication between management and employees tend to foster motivation. Communicate with your sales team often to help keep the motivation flowing. Also encourage your team members to communicate with you. By keeping the lines of communication open, you are better able to head off problems, learn what the team needs, and understand what will motivate both the whole team and individual team members.
Regular Group Meetings
Along with frequent check-ins, regular group meetings are a key channel of communication. While email and phone calls are vital tools in today’s workplace, face-to-face meetings are invaluable for creating a sense of shared goals and connection. Schedule regular meetings with the entire sales team. These might be weekly, monthly, or quarterly depending on the set up of your organization. However often you decide to conduct them, keep to a regular schedule so that there is consistency. Use regular meetings to discuss successes and setbacks, challenges, and needs. Also use them as a time to simply check in with each other, build relationships, and otherwise establish or reinforce shared goals and values. Ensure that meetings are not just management giving orders, but are instead composed of two-way communication with team members.
Regular One on One Meetings
In addition to regular meetings with the entire team, it is key to take the time to meet one on one with individual team members as well. Individual meetings offer you a chance to get to know each team member and what motivates him or her. They are also a place to discuss issues or needs that individual team members might not feel comfortable bringing up in a group setting. Depending on the size of your team and the structure of your organization, the frequency of these meetings will vary. What is important is that they occur on a regular basis and that they serve as a setting for two-way communication between you and individual members of your sales team. Use this time to explore motivations, goals, needs, successes, and challenges with each team member in a setting where he or she has your undivided attention.
Focus on Strengths and Development Areas
A key to using meetings – team and one-on-one – to motivate is focusing on both strengths and development areas. These meetings should neither be wholly about what is going “wrong” nor entirely about praising success. Take the time to recognize the team or individual’s strengths first, reinforcing how valuable they are. Also take time to point out areas where the team or individual can grow and improve, and use part of the meeting time for creating next steps or a development plan. Never call out an individual team member’s development needs in front of the whole team – save that feedback for your individual meeting. Use team meetings to focus on strengths and development needs for the team as a whole, and focus on individual strengths and development needs in the one on one meetings. Also use the team meetings to reinforce shared goals and the mutually interdependent nature of the team.
Ask for Feedback
A major feature of motivational environments is that the communication is two-way. You will provide a great deal of feedback in the regular meetings with your sales team. Be sure to ask them for feedback as well, in both the team meetings and individual meetings. It may be necessary to offer training in how to give useful feedback, if your sales team is not used to be asked to provide feedback to management. Model good feedback behaviors as well, by not personalizing feedback and by focusing on shared values and goals. Encourage your team members to give you regular feedback in between meetings as well. Reinforce that their feedback is how you will know what they need, how they are doing, and how you can support them. Asking for feedback shows team members that you and the organization value them, which can motivate them and lead to increased investment in the work.
For more on this course, please visit:
What Is Self?
What is the self? To many, the answer might be so obvious that they haven’t given it much thought. Others might proffer up one idea after another and finding each imperfect to an extent that they wonder if the self even exists, and if it does can it be defined. They may or may not realize that this is a question humanity has been asking for millenia, with answers from different eras often addressing not just what we are but who we are at that particular place in time. Nor is the answer a trivial one. Too often we stumble through life and take a shallow view of ourselves, our environment, and prevailing forces. And yet, we can do better. We can be better. Our first step is to become aware of who and what we are.
Which still fails to answer the original question, what is the self? No answer will be completely accurate or at all times precise. Instead , here is a temporary answer, good for the purposes of this book: the self is the aspect of an individual organsim that is aware of its existence as an individual organism. It’s the part of ourselves that we are referring to when we each say “I,” as in “I am thinking” or “I am feeling”, etc. One helpful way to think about the self and become more aware of our complete and total self is to divide it into four aspects: the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
The Physical Self
This is probably the most obvious aspect of one’s self, our physical bodies. Awareness of our bodies when that body is in great pain or distress is usually strong. But when we feel physically neutral or slightly good or bad, we can block our awareness of the physical body and replace it with other levels of awareness, awareness of our thoughts or our emotions, for instance. It is important to remember that each level of self affects the other levels of self. Feeling physically uncomfortable can lead to feeling emotionally uncomfortable, as well as feeling emotionally uncomfortable can lead to changes in our physical feelings.
At a certain point, examining one’s physical self requires an examination of one’s physical environment, such that what emerges is the recognition that the two mutually interact, change, and reinforce each other. This aspect of one’s environment and one’s self interacting with and changing each other is important to remember not only in examining the physical self and the physical environment, but at all levels of self-examination. Just as there is a physical environment that interacts with a physical self, there is a mental environment, emotional environment, and spiritual environment that interacts with each corresponding level of self. This will become vital to our understanding the concept of interdependency that comes up in a later chapter.
The Emotional Self
Being aware of oneself on an emotional level means being aware of one’s emotions. In a culture that values concepts such as logic and reason, emotion often gets undervalued. When people become emotionally expressive others will tell them to calm down or to act rationally. Being emotional is thought of as being out of control. This might give you the idea that emotions are things to be avoided, but such a position would be harmful. Emotions serve an important purpose in providing the self with information about its environment as well as motivation for what to avoid or embrace in that environment.
Typically, when we speak of our bodies or of our emotions, we speak in terms of feeling or sensations, things that come upon us rather than things we create. This gives the impression of passivity. We are slaves to our physical and emotional needs. Rather than choosing how we feel, feelings hit us, and then, we react. The most important thing to remember is that we cannot avoid feeling emotions, but we can intervene and through our actions change how we react to our emotions and this can transform our future emotions in turn. Being able to identify how you feel in any given moment is an important goal of becoming more self-aware.
The Mental Self
The mental aspect of your self concerns your thoughts and your imagination. Like the physical and emotional feelings, thoughts also have to capacity to come upon you without your control, but it is far easier to consciously change your thoughts, especially when you practice being more aware of them in the first place. When people think, they often think in sentences or words, but just as often, they can think in images or words and phrases that act as a kind of shorthand. In these moments, it is quite easy for thoughts to get distorted and not accurately reflect a true situation.
The Spiritual Self
This is not about any one religious belief, nor does it reject religious belief, either. The use of the term spirit here is not meant in a religious sense. Instead, the spiritual self is about your continuing sense of identity. The spiritual self is the realm of what a person values. It’s the world view and the source of motivation. If the emotional self and mental self are about the feelings and thoughts of a person in a given moment, the spiritual self is about the interconnectedness of thoughts and feelings over time that forms into a sense of personal identity.
For more on our Self Awareness course, please visit: