Awareness can change your life big time. This is how.

Sometimes life is crazy. Emotions can knock you off your feet, relationships can derail you, and thoughts can be enough to drive you mad. When this happens, a little bit of space, a touch of freedom, or even just a slight shift of perspective can change everything.

You know that friend who offers you the space you need—the one who listens without judgment, gives you room to vent, and doesn’t try to fix anything—they’re just present for you?

Awareness is that friend. Imagine what it would be like if you could offer yourself the support, the freedom, the space and the acceptance you need when you’re just being you—no matter how you’re showing up.

Awareness is about pulling yourself out of the chaos for a moment to catch your breath, readjust your vision, and take a fresh look at the current situation. All you have to do to practice awareness is observe. No judgment, no strategizing, no agenda. Just observe. Look at your thoughts, feel your emotions, and pull yourself out of the situation, even if it’s only for one conscious breath. Taking the time to do this will give you a glance at the big picture, and when you can see the big picture, you’ll see that where you’re at is only temporary. That simple realization can help you savor the moment (if it’s a good one), or know that it will pass soon (if it’s not so pleasant). Either way, awareness buys you time so that your next move is a conscious one made with clarity and poise.

The only hard part about awareness is remembering to do it. The key is practice, practice, practice. Make awareness your new healthy habit. You can practice on anything, anytime—your daily commute, washing dishes, taking a shower—select something that you do every day and make a commitment to transform that activity into a dedicated practice of awareness.

As you’re going through the motions of whatever it is you’re doing, tune into all five senses; notice how you feel, observe what thoughts pop into your head, and pay attention your body’s reaction to those thoughts. Observe whether or not you can release the thoughts that aren’t serving you, or any tension that arises in the body as a result of them. In the beginning it may seem dull to pay such close attention to yourself or to mundane activities, but over time, you’ll realize that daily activities of life can be fascinating, but more importantly you’ll come to realize that YOU are fascinating, and truly, there is nothing more worthy of your attention then the study of you.

This post originally appeared on my first blog, www.emilyparkinsonperry.com on February 10, 2015.

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