4 Steps for How to Use Awareness to Heal
In the words of author Eckart Tolle, “Awareness is the greatest agent for change”.
Many times, we go through an experience and have a thought (or many) that causes us to feel a certain way about that experience. Those emotions usually dictate the next actions we do or don’t take. All of this activity happens in our brain in fractions of a second. We usually aren’t conscious of this, so by the time we’ve either taken action or not, it seems to be something that wasn’t within our control.
Awareness is the key to bringing all of those reactions in our brain, all of those signals that go unnoticed, to the front of our minds. When we use awareness, we allow ourselves to live in the moment of an experience, notice the thoughts we have, feel those feelings in our bodies, and then CHOOSE from there the actions that we do or do not take.
When it comes to healing, awareness is a powerful tool that we can use to move away from pain, suffering, and victim mentality, and gain some sense of control over the experiences that we want to heal from. Whether that be a chronic illness, a mental illness, an emotional or physical trauma, or self-destructive thoughts and behavior, awareness can simply bring us back into our bodies and our hearts and create a space for healing.
Here are 4 steps to using the power of awareness for healing:
1. Slow down.
Focus on something neutral in your body. Maybe take some deep breaths, close your eyes, and practice some mindfulness for 2 minutes… Slow down and really take in your experience as it’s happening in the moment, in real-time.
Lean into curiosity here. Notice and appreciate the thoughts and feelings you currently have about this experience. How do these thoughts make you feel? How do these emotions manifest in your body? What are all of the sensations you are noticing right now related to this thought and feeling?
How do you WANT to think and feel? What thought or feeling seems appropriate for your experience? What thought feels less of a burden or provides a little more relief? In this step, you can even challenge the original thought that came up for you.
This is where you take awareness and turn it into that powerful healing tool. You can choose the thoughts and feelings you have about an experience after you take the time to process the ones that initially arise. You may not be able to control the immediate thoughts and feelings that come up, but you can always choose how you respond and react.
The Most Important Step
Although these steps sound fairly simple, it’s a lot more complex when you put it into practice in your day-to-day life. We are constantly experiencing our lives at a fast pace. Many of the thoughts and feelings we have are so quick, that we don’t even notice them. This is why the first step of slowing down is the most important one. When we slow down, we give ourselves the space to tune in to our own inner knowing. We have this innate ability to change our own biology without even realizing it. Awareness is the key to tapping into that power, and it starts with slowing down and looking within.
Deep down, we know what we truly need to heal.