Increasing self awareness

10 Tips for Leaders to Improve Their Self-Awareness

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What is self-awareness?

How important is self-awareness in leadership and business?

What are self-awareness skills?

Tips for becoming more self-aware

Sean Peek

Business News Daily

Contributing Writer

Updated Nov 16, 2022

The ability to monitor yourself is one of the most important traits you can have as a leader. Here's how to improve your self-awareness.

  • Self-awareness is the ability to monitor your own emotions and reactions.
  • Studies show that people who have great self-awareness are better leaders because of it.
  • There are many ways to improve self-awareness, like setting boundaries and practicing self-discipline.
  • This article is for leaders who want to improve their self-awareness.

What is the most important characteristic of a leader? Some might say it’s integrity. Others might say it’s being a good motivator. But psychologist and author Sherrie Campbell, author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person, believes self-awareness is the key factor in leadership success.

What is self-awareness?

Self-awareness is the ability to monitor your own emotions and reactions. It lets you know your strengths, weaknesses, triggers, motivators and other characteristics. Being self-aware means taking a deeper look at your emotions, why you feel a certain way, and how your sentiments could turn into reactions.

Tip: Learning how to identify emotions as they happen increases your self-awareness.

Practicing self-awareness allows you to react better to situations or people who might set you off, which is a healthy skill to cultivate – especially as a leader. When you’re aware of your emotions and how you handle them, you’re better equipped to process and work through them, avoiding unnecessary conflict. This will also help you set a good example for your team and make them more comfortable approaching you with questions or concerns. Even if you’re not where you want to be as a leader, developing self-awareness and acknowledging areas you need to work on is the first step.

How important is self-awareness in leadership and business?

Without self-awareness, leaders can appear arrogant. If you cannot be personable, or know when you are crossing a line, how can you lead a company?

The need for self-awareness extends to other business situations, too. Think about how crucial self-awareness is in giving sales pitches or handling feedback, for instance; if you are not aware of how you will react or do not have a way to prevent a negative reaction, you could get yourself in trouble.

Did you know? Coping mechanisms developed in childhood can prevent you from achieving goals. By becoming aware of these automatic reactions, you can opt out of using them when they provide no benefit.

Self-awareness is also helpful for presentations. Many people get nervous when delivering pitches, speeches or even notes at a meeting. Self-awareness can help. If you use too many filler words during presentations, practice your presentation and have someone clap every time you use a word you want to avoid. If you tend to sway or pace around while presenting, limit your ability to move by sitting at the table with your client or using a podium.

What are self-awareness skills?

In addition to being aware of your own emotions, self-awareness involves knowing how you will react to others.

“Self-awareness keeps us grounded, attuned and focused,” said Campbell in her book. “When leaders are grounded, they can be efficient and deliberate in staying on task and being attuned to those around them. Leaders who can control their minds and emotions help to guide those around them to develop their own self-knowledge and success.

These are some important self-awareness skills:

  • Empathy: When you fine-tune your self-awareness abilities, you will become more empathetic thanks to heightened emotional intelligence.
  • Adaptability: If you know how you will react, you could avoid a tough situation by taking a walk or just taking a few deep breaths.
  • Confidence: By accepting and even embracing your flaws, needs and strengths, you will increase your ability to be vulnerable, which allows for stronger relationships in the workplace. Maintaining confidence is key to success.
  • Mindfulness: When you’re self-aware, you become more mindful of the present moment, allowing yourself to take situations as they happen rather than dwelling on the past or projecting into the future.
  • Patience: While your immediate reaction might be to scold an employee for a mistake or let your frustrations out on your team, self-awareness will help you practice patience, even in the face of conflict.
  • Kindness: This is achievable when you put aside your own feelings to support another person. Even if you’re having a bad day, being self-aware and realizing your workers are also human beings with similar struggles can help you be more sympathetic.

Key takeaway: Self-awareness rarely happens immediately. It takes time, commitment and practice.

Tips for becoming more self-aware

Learning to be aware of yourself isn’t always easy, but it can help you become a more effective leader. Here are 10 tips for improving self-awareness.

  1. Keep an open mind. When you are able to regulate your own emotional world, you can be more attuned to others’ emotions. To be a successful leader, you need to be curious about new people and all they have to offer. This shows that you can be a team player and don’t need to be Number One all the time. The more open you are to others, the more creative an entrepreneur you will become.
  2. Be mindful of your strengths and weaknesses. Self-aware individuals know their strengths and weaknesses and can work from that space. Being mindful of this means knowing when to reach out for assistance and when you can handle a situation on your own.
  3. Stay focused. An important part of being a leader is making connections, but you can’t do that if you’re distracted. Train yourself to focus for long periods of time without getting sucked into social media, emails or other small distractions to improve your productivity.
  4. Set boundaries. A leader needs to put strong limits in place. Be warm toward others, but say no when it’s needed. Be serious about your work and your passions, and keep your boundaries firm to maintain the integrity of your goals and the work you put into them.
  5. Know your emotional triggers. Self-aware individuals can identify their emotions as they are happening. Don’t repress your emotions or deny their causes; instead, bend and flex with them, and fully process them before communicating with others.
  6. Embrace your intuition. Successful people learn to trust their instincts in decision-making and take the risks associated with those choices. Your instincts are based on the survival of the fittest and the need to succeed. They will tell you what to do next, so learn to trust your intuition.
  7. Practice self-discipline. Good leaders tend to be disciplined in every area of their lives. This trait provides them with the enduring focus necessary for strong leadership.
  8. Consider how your actions affect others. We often act without thinking first, focusing only on our own needs. While self-awareness requires acknowledging your emotions, you must also identify how you handle those feelings and how any subsequent actions impact those around you. Being more considerate of others will help you navigate difficult situations.
  9. Apologize when necessary. Mistakes happen, but self-awareness will help you recognize when your slip-ups require apologies. Maybe you lashed out at your staff, or perhaps you’ve been difficult to reach lately. Whatever your mistake was, saying you’re sorry (and meaning it) and then changing your behavior is the best way to move forward.
  10. Ask for feedback. While being self-aware means understanding yourself without input from others, it takes courage (and self-awareness) to ask for honest employee feedback. Doing this acknowledges your natural biases toward yourself (which we all have), and helps you gain a more objective view.

Nicole Fallon contributed to the writing and research in this article.

Image Credit: fizkes / Getty Images

Sean Peek

Business News Daily Contributing Writer

Sean Peek has written more than 100 B2B-focused articles on various subjects including business technology, marketing and business finance. In addition to researching trends, reviewing products and writing articles that help small business owners, Sean runs a content marketing agency that creates high-quality editorial content for both B2B and B2C businesses.

16 Activities & Tools (+PDF)

Self-awareness is an important skill that we can cultivate to help us progress on our personal development journey, and we could all use a little more of it sometimes.

In our stressful, modern lives, it’s easy to react passively to our environment and fracture opportunities to connect. Possessing emotional intelligence and regulating our emotions should be some of the most valued skills; self-awareness is the cornerstone of that intelligence.

Read along for some tried-and-tested, science-based strategies to raise self-awareness.

But first, we thought you might like to download our three Emotional Intelligence Exercises for free. These science-based exercises will not only enhance your ability to understand and work with your emotions, but also give you the tools to foster the emotional intelligence of your clients, students, or employees.

This Article Contains:

  • How Do We Develop Self-Awareness?
  • 4 Ways to Increase Self-Awareness
  • 3 Tests, Questionnaires, and Assessment Scales
  • 5 Activities, Games, and Exercises to Build Self-Awareness
  • The Self-Awareness Wheel
  • Some Group Exercises
  • Interview Questions, Techniques, and Tips
  • A Look at Journaling for Self-Awareness
  • Self-Awareness and Kids + Activities
  • Training Your Self-Awareness: 3 Courses
  • 5 Books on the Topic
  • 5 Interesting Videos and TED Talks
  • Top Podcasts
  • Inspirational Quotes on Self-Awareness
  • A Take-Home Message
  • References

How Do We Develop Self-Awareness?

Self-awareness is the ability to monitor our inner and external world. Our thoughts and feelings arise as signals. Developing self-awareness allows us to keep from being swept away by those signals, and instead, objectively and thoughtfully respond to them. Self-aware people understand their internal experience and their impact on the experience of others.

The ability to self-evaluate has been criticized in the past for increasing negative affect. When encouraging self-awareness from the “cool” system of stimuli (Metcalfe & Mischel, 1999), the increase in negative affect can be lessened. A rise in negative emotional affect is a hindrance to progress in self-awareness.

When working on self-awareness, it is essential to do so from a self-distanced perspective, with a focus on reasons underlying emotional experience rather than what was emotionally experienced (Kross, Ayduk, & Mischel, 2005).

An open, objective observation of feelings, senses, desires, and actions can help someone move up the flourishing continuum. There’s no need to relive negative emotions, but noticing them and learning from their presence can boost self-awareness.

Developing self-awareness requires higher level cognitive processing. It requires an information-gathering perspective. This processing results in increases in adaptability and flexibility. Having increased self-awareness builds resilience (Hippe, 2004). Self-awareness also improves our ability to empathize with others (Younas, Rasheed, Sundus, & Inayat, 2020).

When compassion and empathy rise, so does the higher self. With intentions and purpose, a self-aware human can significantly impact the world around them. Self-aware people tend to show up with self-confidence, self-worth, and high success rates (Duval & Silvia, 2002).

4 Ways to Increase Self-Awareness

A thought diary is a foundational place to begin increasing self-awareness.

Keep track of thoughts that pop up in the form of an automatic reaction.

Track what was occurring at the time.

Track your level of emotion to the stimulus.

If time allows, analyze the underlying reason for the emotion experienced. If time does not allow, the diary will enable you to track common threads.

Introspection is not efficient in higher order cognitive processes (Nisbett & Wilson, 1977). Humans tend to reflect with a self-serving bias, rather than objectively analyzing situations for abstract learning. To be more efficient, the thought diary should be less of an emotional exercise and more of a fact-finding mission. In other words, leave judgment out of it.

Starting a mindfulness practice is another way to increase self-awareness. There are a variety of activities to include in a mindfulness practice. Find a few ideas to inspire you to incorporate meditation, yoga, or some other variation to improve your presence. When mindfulness is practiced, behavior becomes more intentional, and increased self-awareness develops.

Asking a friend to clarify your strengths and weaknesses can be a significant pathway to self-awareness. While many people believe they are self-aware, having an outside perspective is helpful in a clearer understanding of external self-awareness.

Experience and power may be a hindrance to self-awareness (Ostroff, Atwater, & Feinberg, 2004). This is for those leaders out there. Ask your subordinates to rate your leadership skills. When people are at the top, they tend to overestimate their abilities because they don’t have as many opportunities to build external awareness.

3 Tests, Questionnaires, and Assessment Scales

The Self Consciousness Scale (Scheier & Carver, 1985) has been validated and translated into several languages. It helps to better understand one’s level of rumination and to shift it instead to objective reflection.

The Situational Self-Awareness Scale was designed to quantify levels of public and private awareness. It has been validated and translated many times. It has two sub-scales that help validate differences and cues to these two forms of self-awareness (Govern & Marsch, 2001). You need permission from the authors to use this scale for scientific purposes.

Tasha Eurich’s research on self-awareness leads to this interesting quiz. It measures internal and external self-awareness and places participants in quadrants, allowing for growth in understanding the power of knowing the ‘self.’ There is more on her interesting book below.

Various scales to measure mindfulness and increase awareness can be found on our blog.

5 Activities, Games, and Exercises to Build Self-Awareness

Knowing one’s VIA Strengths and intentionally increasing them are important ways to build self-awareness.

Other personality inventories offer an increase in self-awareness too. Taking that insight into real-time practice is a vital awareness builder.

Becoming self-aware is not a single moment of inspiration. It requires continual, objective reflection and experimentation in real-world settings.

Taking healthy risks is another way to build your self-awareness. Placing yourself in new situations and out of your comfort zone can offer unique personal insight. Here are a few ideas for healthy risks:

  • Join a club
  • Volunteer
  • Begin a new activity (painting, exercise, etc.)
  • Switch to open-ended questions

Ask your friends for feedback. By trusting a friend or relative to give you feedback about your qualities – helpful and unhelpful – you can gain insight into how you are perceived. Allowing a mirror to be placed in front of you by your loved ones can be illuminating.

Writing a regret letter is a way to build self-awareness and practice radical forgiveness at the same time. Write to your former self about regrets and forgive that self for mistakes that have been made. This activity permits you to be human.

Write your imaginary eulogy to illuminate how you’d like to be remembered after you’re gone. This exercise allows you to know how you want to show up in the world and the necessary shifts that need to occur. This self-awareness builder will enable you to understand your higher self better.

We have more self-awareness activities on our blog.

The Self-Awareness Wheel

There are variations of the self-awareness wheel used in counseling, mindfulness practices, and even education. Though the wheel has many variations, the version from Dr. Dan Siegel is evidence based. His version can be found on his website. It is a visual metaphor for the process of integrating consciousness.

The core of awareness develops from a central “hub” containing the understanding of awareness or mindfulness as:

  • Clear
  • Aware
  • Receptive
  • Open
  • Peaceful
  • Calm

The core of awareness is the goal, where one’s attention focuses on the surroundings of the “hub” while scanning for:

  • The body’s five senses
  • Interconnectedness (interaction with the environment)
  • Cognitive processes
  • Internal physical body

Another version of an awareness wheel was created in the book Alive and Aware (Miller, Nunnally, & Wackman, 1975).

In this wheel, awareness is surrounded by:

  • Thinking
  • Feeling
  • Doing
  • Wanting
  • Sensing

It’s basically the same concept as Siegel’s wheel but simplified. It can be utilized for improving communication in relationships.

Some Group Exercises

A fun parlor game popularized by French essayist Marcel Proust can be used as an exercise to grow self-awareness. It is called the Proust Questionnaire.

A group activity that requires vulnerability and listening skills is a share circle. With participants in a circle, pass around the following questions on a piece of paper. Have participants listen deeply. Be sure that everyone gets a turn with a positive and negative emotion.

  • I feel angry when…
  • I feel joyful when…
  • I feel unhappy when…
  • I feel hope when…
  • I wish I didn’t have to…
  • I enjoy…
  • I feel afraid when…
  • Something I’d like to change is…
  • If I were (name the person), I would…
  • I feel like no one loves me when…
  • I know I am loved when…
  • Something I find boring is…
  • I know I can trust…
  • I admire (name the person) because…
  • I feel serene when…
  • I am most interested in….
  • I am annoyed when…
  • I disapprove of…
  • I am optimistic when…

Another group activity that increases self-awareness is a body language exercise. Divide participants into partners. Give one partner a note showing the type of emotion they should display with only body language. Have the other partner choose what emotion is present in the body language.

To develop awareness in a team setting, help the group become aware of common goals. Team strengths and weaknesses can then be identified and transformed into action steps for team growth. In a group, brainstorm the answers to the following prompts:

This team is great at…
This team struggles at…
This team supports each other by…

On a scale from 1 to 10, how much does each team member notice their emotional reactions?
Our common goals are…
We will grow by…
Our daily actions include…

Interview Questions, Techniques, and Tips

Emotional intelligence is a growing area of expertise sought after in job candidates for new positions (Nicholls, Wegener, Bay, & Cook, 2012).

As we know, self-awareness is the cornerstone of building that intelligence.

Here are some questions, techniques, and tips for assessing someone’s self-awareness.

What makes you angry at work?

A self-aware person would respond with an answer that shows how anger is handled in real time. Speaking about how anger is a signal to an adjustment toward perspective taking is a great way to highlight self-awareness capabilities.

As a manager, how do you handle a subordinate who enters your office crying?

A self-aware person would respond with an answer that shows the ability to respond with compassion and strong listening skills. A manager has to have the ability to handle emotions and likely has empathy for others.

How would you handle a subordinate making a mistake?

A self-aware person can take the perspective of failure as a natural process of growth and can help the subordinate learn from that mistake.

What is your superpower?

A self-aware person can effectively articulate what unique offering they bring to the table.

Self-aware folks will typically value teamwork above self-promotion. They value collaboration and have the ability to respond, rather than passively react, to stimuli. Self-aware leaders will lead with intention, empathy, and compassion.

A Look at Journaling for Self-Awareness

At the heart of any journaling practice for self-awareness is honesty. Allowing ourselves to recognize and redirect the self-serving bias enables journaling to increase accuracy in subjective emotional experience. Tracking triggers is quite powerful in decreasing the automated reactions to them.

Someone doesn’t have to be a writer to journal for self-awareness. A stream of consciousness journal won’t be reviewed or read by anyone but the writer. It can reveal and enlighten when reread.

Journaling offers insight into changes that could be made and tracked through personal experience. By writing daily, the thread becomes illuminated. It may even help to keep journals for different areas of life (e. g., work, home, fitness, etc.).

To get creative, it can be quite helpful to start journaling with prompts that ignite self-discovery. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • If I could speak to my teenage self, I would say…
  • Can I come up with 20 things that make me smile?
  • Two of the most impactful moments of my life were…
  • When I’m in pain, the sweetest thing I can do for myself is…
  • Today, I used my strengths in the following ways…
  • I was most surprised when….
  • The scariest day of my life was…

Self-Awareness and Kids + Activities

Getting kids of any age to understand the abstract area of emotions is a challenging task.

Developing emotional intelligence takes some effort, and it begins with self-awareness.

Speaking to strengths and accepting that emotions are temporary is helpful for anyone working with children.

Mindfulness for Kids is an important exercise used to increase self-awareness. The link will take you to games, worksheets, and activities to help those kids in your life.

Offering older kids sentence starters and encouraging them to complete the sentences is a great activity for building self-awareness. Start with these examples:

When I’m bored, I like to…
In my free time, I enjoy…
I’m happiest when…
When I make a mistake, I…
When my day doesn’t go my way, I…

The emotional pie exercise is a healthy way for kids to discuss their emotions. Have the child create a circle. Help the child name eight emotions with individually chosen representative colors. If they have trouble, you can help them with the assistance of Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions.

Once they are identified, have the child fill the circle with the emotions weighing the slices from most prominent to least prominent. Encourage them to use colors that might feel like they represent those feelings (e.g., red for anger).

A fun idea for younger kids is the emoji plate game. Help children develop the vocabulary to talk about their emotions by making paper plates into emojis created with self-determined labels. For little ones, emotions such as anger, frustration, or disappointment can be hard feelings to process. Yet, it is important to help them to develop the vocabulary to express them positively.

Lea Waters’s work on strengths is a great way to help children develop self-awareness. Waters’s (2017) The Strength Switch is a great book for sparking a genuinely transformational conversation between parents and kids. Like any other humans, kids want to be seen. Helping them recognize their strengths and telling them the strengths that you see in them are wonderful places to start.

Training Your Self-Awareness: 3 Courses

Mindfulness X is a comprehensive training course for practitioners to learn how to infuse mindfulness into their practices.

Udemy offers an affordable online course utilizing Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, neuroplasticity, and mindfulness. This course is geared toward self-development, particularly in reducing depression and anxiety.

ACT for Youth has developed a helpful toolkit filled with resources for kids.

5 Books on the Topic

Improving self-awareness helps people improve their lives by offering an objective reflection. The topic has gained scientific evidence in improving overall emotional intelligence and success. With increased emotional intelligence, improved human connection and leadership are possible. Here are some great reads on the topic.


A Theory of Objective Self Awareness – Shelley Duval and Robert Wicklund

This book was foundational in social psychology for the understanding of self-awareness.

It offers links to cognitive processes.

While somewhat antiquated, it has bedrock theory that can help readers understand the concept of objective self-awareness.

Available on Amazon.


Self-Awareness (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series) – Harvard Business Review, Daniel Goleman, Robert Steven Kaplan, Susan David, and Tasha Eurich

The Harvard Business Review released a series of books including Self-Awareness, which includes the work of Daniel Goleman, Robert Steven Kaplan, and Susan David.

This book teaches the concept of being human at work. Knowing your strengths, shortcomings, and potential helps leaders develop.

Available on Amazon.


Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ – Daniel Goleman

Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman, explores the scientific concept of two brains: the logical and the emotional.

This book outlines the skills needed to improve your emotional intelligence.

Self-awareness is the bedrock of these skills.

Available on Amazon.


Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves, and Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think – Tasha Eurich

Dr. Tasha Eurich’s book Insight is a look at self-awareness through the lens of an organizational psychologist.

With a pragmatic approach to professional development, this book serves leaders in becoming more self-aware and successful.

Grounded in the science of human behavior, this book offers readers the ability to uncover the invisible blocks to self-awareness.

Available on Amazon.

5. How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of The Brain – Lisa Feldman Barrett Ph.D.

Lisa Feldman Barrett’s book, How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of The Brain, takes readers through brain anatomy and helps readers to know that they may have some control over their own experience of emotions.

Available on Amazon.

Ten additional books are discussed in our article regarding the best self-awareness books.

5 Interesting Videos and TED Talks

The following visuals are great ways to improve one’s knowledge of self-awareness.

1. How Youth Thrive

Peter Benson’s TED talk, How Youth Thrive, is compelling. This talk discusses the spark that youth have and their awareness of its existence in themselves. Knowing that they are ‘seen’ gives youth self-awareness and joy.

2. Increase your self-awareness with one simple fix

Tasha Eurich’s TED talk highlights her research in self-awareness. Her evidence-based perspective as an organizational psychologist gives an informative speech about how most people are not, in fact, self-aware.

3. My Stroke of Insight

Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED talk discusses her very personal experience of having a stroke. It’s an astonishing story about the brain and self-awareness.

4. The Power of Self-Awareness

Dr. William Sparks talks about the power of self-awareness and his deeper understanding of “the shadow.”

5. How Self-Awareness Can Help You to Live the Life You Want

Marina Barayeva’s TED talk on self-awareness is helpful for youth.

Top Podcasts

Being Well by Rick Hanson, PhD uses psychology to look at achievement, awareness, and success. This episode, in particular, offers insight from Daniel Goleman.

The Self-Awareness Podcast, from Aaron Dodge, is a personal journey through self-awareness.

The Pathway to Happiness podcast, and this Awareness and Consciousness episode in particular, offers interesting insights into the voices in our heads.

If you enjoy listening to podcasts, we also have a selection of the eight best positive psychology podcasts.

Inspirational Quotes on Self-Awareness

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding about ourselves.

Carl Gustav Jung

You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.

Ernest Hemingway

The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.

Michel de Montaigne

Every human has four endowments – self-awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.

Stephen R. Covey

A Take-Home Message

Science tells us that most human beings are not very adept at self-awareness. What researchers have found is that self-awareness is like a golden ticket for success and fulfillment. It takes work. Self-awareness and self-acceptance lead to improvements in emotional intelligence.

More people awakened and aware would be a massive transition in humanity. It would create better families, schools, and workplaces. With the shift would come increased compassion and empathy. Dare we dream that we can do better?

Thanks for reading!

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Emotional Intelligence Exercises for free.

  • Duval, T. S., & Silvia, P. J. (2002). Self-awareness, probability of improvement, and the self-serving bias. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82(1), 49-61.
  • Govern, J. M., & Marsch, L. A. (2001). Development and validation of the situational self-awareness scale. Consciousness and Cognition, 10(3), 366-378.
  • Hippe, J. (2004). Self-awareness: A precursor to resiliency. Reclaiming Children & Youth12(4), 240-242.
  • Kross, E., Ayduk, O., & Mischel, W. (2005). When asking “why” does not hurt: Distinguishing rumination from reflective processing of negative emotions. Psychological Science, 16(9), 709-715.
  • Metcalfe, J., & Mischel, W. (1999). A hot/cool-system analysis of delay of gratification: Dynamics of willpower. Psychological Review, 106(1), 3-19.
  • Miller, S., Nunnally, E. W., & Wackman, D. B. (1975). Alive and aware: Improving communications in relationships. Minneapolis, MN: Interpersonal Communication Programs.
  • Nicholls, S., Wegener, M., Bay, D., & Cook, G. L. (2012). Emotional intelligence tests: Potential impacts on the hiring process for accounting students.  Accounting Education21(1), 75-95.
  • Nisbett, R. E., & Wilson, T. D. (1977). Telling more than we know: Verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review, 81(3), 231–257.
  • Ostroff, C., Atwater, L. E., & Feinberg, B. J. (2004). Understanding self-other agreement: A look at rater and ratee characteristics, context and outcomes. Personnel Psychology, 57(2), 333-375.
  • Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (1985). The self-consciousness scale: A revised version for use with general populations. Journal of Applied Social Psychology15(8), 687-699.
  • Waters, L. (2017). The strength switch: How the new science of strength-based parenting can help your child and your teen to flourish. New York, NY: Penguin.
  • Younas, A., Rasheed, S. P., Sundus, A., & Inayat, S. (2020). Nurses’ perspectives of self-awareness in nursing practice: A descriptive qualitative study. Nursing & Health Sciences22(2), 398-405.

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How to increase self-awareness?

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Self-awareness is the difference between feeling that you won't be stolen and the fear that you aren't smart enough. How you evaluate yourself greatly affects how others will evaluate you. Perception is reality. The more self-awareness you have, the greater the chance that you will succeed. nine0007

There are many factors that affect self-awareness. Use these ten strategies, , to reach the Psychological Ceiling that will allow you to fulfill your true potential. Raise your self-awareness!

1. Take care of your appearance.

A person cannot be judged by their appearance, but appearance completely affects how a person feels. If you know that you do not look very good, then this consciousness also affects how you present yourself and how you will make contact with other people. nine0007

Use this advice to your advantage and take care of your appearance . In most cases, noticeable improvements can be achieved in simple ways : shower and shave regularly, wear clean underwear, and dress in the latest fashion.

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One easy way to find out what people think of themselves is to study their walk. Is she slow? Tired? Or energetic and focused?

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Posture, as well as gait, gives a lot of information. People with stiff shoulders and apathetic movements give rise to a lack of self-confidence . They are not impressed by what they do and do not consider themselves important people.

Keeping a straight posture will automatically make you feel more confident. Stand up straight, keep your head up and maintain eye contact - so You will produce positive inspiration on others, and you will immediately feel stronger and braver .

4. Self-promotion.

One of the best ways to raise self-awareness is listening to motivational speeches . Unfortunately, the opportunity to listen to great speakers is small. But you can fulfill this need by creating a personal advertisement .

Write a 30-60 second speech that describes your strengths and goals. Then Stand in front of a mirror and read this aloud. Do this when you need to raise self-awareness.

5. Recognition.

The more you focus on what you want to achieve, the more reasons why you can't get it. This, by the way, may refer to your weaknesses. The best way to get rid of this is to consciously concentrate on recognition.

Find time every day to0004 make a list in your head of things you can be thankful for . Think of past accomplishments, unique opportunities, love relationships, and positive things in your life. You will be surprised how much you have achieved and will be motivated to reach goals.

6. Give compliments.

If you have negative thoughts in relation to yourself, then we often throw these feelings onto others or create gossip. To reverse this cycle of negative energy, cheer up the other person with a compliment.

Refuse to be drawn into false gossip and allow yourself to compliment the people around you. This will allow you to become popular and help raise self-awareness. Look for the good in others and you will discover the good in yourself .

7. Sit in the front rows.

At school, in the office, and at social gatherings, everyone in the world tries to sit in the back. People prefer to sit farther away because they are afraid of being noticed . This shows a lack of self-awareness.

Deciding to sit in the front rows, you can overcome this terrifying fear and raise self-awareness. In addition, you will be visible to important people who speak in front of an audience.

8. Speak up.

During group discussions, many people do not speak out because they are afraid to say something stupid and lose respect in the eyes of others. This fear has no basis. People are more understanding than you can imagine. In addition, many people have similar fears. nine0007

Get over yourself and speak out at least once during group discussions, so you will become a good speaker, become confident in your thoughts, and also aspire to be leaders.

9. Exercise.

Appearance, physical form significantly increases self-awareness. If you are not in shape, then you feel unreliable, unassembled. Training will improve your physical appearance, add energy and positive emotions.

Discipline and training will not only make you feel better, but also look good, which will give energy for the rest of the day .

10. Focus on giving.

We too often become enemies to ourselves in relation to desires - we concentrate very much on our needs, but do not do this in relation to others .

If you stop thinking about yourself and focus on the contribution that you can give to the world, then you will not worry so much about your failures. This will improve 's self-awareness and allow him to perform at his best . The more you give to the world, the more you will get back.

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Learn and understand what self-awareness is

The simple definition of self-awareness is a correct understanding of oneself. Self-awareness requires people to look inward and reflect on motives, thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns, disconnecting from the influences of the outside world in order to restore internal connection.


There are two main types of self-consciousness - internal and external. Inner self-awareness is the development of knowledge and understanding of the inner self. External self-awareness describes the understanding of how a person presents himself to the outside world and interacts with people.

To develop a certain level of self-awareness, a person must reflect on his inner thoughts, feelings, motives and values. Self-knowledge and reflection contribute to a better understanding of one's emotions and emotional reactions. Understanding our emotional states allows us to better understand our actions and behavior. nine0007

Increased self-awareness resists external influences, helps to make decisions and improves emotional regulation, and the main tool for developing self-awareness - meditation - provides space for focused introspection and self-reflection.

During meditation, self-awareness develops by recognizing the inner thoughts and feelings that arise during practice. Mindfulness meditation allows you to focus on time and space without outside influence, as its goal is to recognize thoughts and emotional patterns without judgment. Meditation allows introspection and reassessment of personal behavior and thought patterns. nine0007


Self-awareness is good for overall well-being and mental health. It is also an important aspect of self-development related to acquiring skills and achieving goals. Deeper self-awareness allows people to understand their values ​​and identify their inner motives.

This is the concept of intrinsic motivation, which is intrinsic motivation, not extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is vital to feelings of engagement, commitment, and fulfillment. Self-awareness helps to identify internal motivating factors and resist external biases and influences, leading to greater self-fulfillment. nine0007

Increased self-awareness contributes to the development of emotional intelligence, which is vital for increasing motivation and creativity, developing empathy, strengthening interpersonal relationships and smooth communication. Research shows that high emotional intelligence is critical for leadership positions.

Understanding and awareness of emotional states helps to manage reactions. The fight-or-flight stress response reduces your ability to make decisions, while self-awareness and emotional intelligence help you overcome this response and make logical decisions when you experience these emotions. nine0007

Another benefit of introspection is that it helps to increase self-esteem and self-confidence, since healthy introspection and introspection should not be directed towards self-judgment or criticism. Sometimes introspection can be mistaken for rumination, which involves being stuck in negative thoughts. In developing healthy introspection, reflection should be productive and nonjudgmental.

Finally, self-awareness has a positive effect on creativity, decision making and productivity. One study found that people with high levels of self-awareness tend to be more proactive in work environments. nine0007


Signs of high self-awareness are strong and healthy relationships with other people. People with a high level of self-awareness can define their personal goals and values, which allows them to make decisions and take better control of their lives.

A deeply self-aware person is easy to recognize by observing his behavior and listening to his thoughts. Self-aware people are not afraid to take responsibility for their own actions and those of others. They tend to be honest, show absolute transparency in their words, and are very empathic by nature. One of the main signs of self-awareness is the relationship between how a person listens and speaks. People with a heightened level of self-awareness are excellent and deep listeners. nine0007

It is very important to understand that there is no such thing as objective self-consciousness. Although self-awareness allows for a deeper understanding of oneself, a person conducts self-assessment from a personal point of view.


There are many ways to develop self-awareness. One way to increase self-awareness is to take the time to understand yourself and identify core values ​​and personal aspirations. This can be done through keeping a diary or making a list of goals. Keeping a diary for introspection helps to further identify emotions and typical emotional reactions. It is helpful to get an outside perspective, such as asking friends and family about how you react to certain situations. nine0007

On the other hand, seeking feedback in the workplace can increase awareness of one's strengths and challenges along the career path. Trying new activities and experiences and becoming aware of yourself in these conditions is useful for further increasing the level of self-awareness. Developed self-awareness also allows for honest feedback and different points of view without a strong desire to personalize.


The theory of self-awareness is a central tenet of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation helps cultivate self-awareness, allowing you to shift your attention from the outer world to the inner. Mindfulness meditation will help you focus on feelings and unconscious thoughts and accept them as they are. Practicing mindfulness requires being in the present moment and objectively looking inward at thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It is important not to judge inner thoughts so that this is a time for healthy introspection and growth in self-knowledge. nine0007

Research has shown that meditation can alter areas of the brain that promote self-awareness. A study by the Havard Medical School found that meditation increases gray matter volume in the hippocampal region, which is associated with self-awareness and introspection. Mindfulness meditation focuses on an objective and nonjudgmental acknowledgment of inner feelings and thoughts, so it can help reduce rumination and anxious thoughts.



  • Self-reflective journaling
  • Yoga practice
  • Establishing intentions
  • Asking for feedback
  • Listen more
  • Participation in self-knowledge trainings
  • Social and Clinical Psychology Studies
  • Working with a life coach


In general, self-consciousness is divided into two broad categories:

  • Private self-consciousness
  • Understanding the inner self, including thoughts, own emotions and feelings
  • Social consciousness
  • Understanding external perception and relationships with other people


  • The most common negative aspect of a high level of inner self-awareness is excessive thoughtfulness and focus on negative inner thoughts. In the formation of conscious self-perception, it is also very important to develop self-acceptance. It is very easy to fall into the trap of self-conscious thinking in an attempt to understand yourself. By accepting negative thoughts, trying to objectively evaluate them, and practicing self-compassion, you can prevent this from happening. nine0013
  • The most common negative aspect of high external self-awareness is social anxiety and self-awareness. This may be due to high awareness of social pressure and concern about how others perceive the person.
  • While some people may think that self-awareness is related to narcissism, this is not the case. People with a high level of narcissism tend to have a lower level of self-awareness as they are not aware of their flaws and problems. nine0013


  • There is a difference between self-awareness and consciousness, although both serve as an objective self-assessment and allow you to bring different points of view into your life.
  • Conscious awareness is awareness of one's surroundings, environment and body. In contrast, self-awareness is manifested in the understanding of one's internal thoughts, emotions and reactions and how they affect relationships with the outside world. nine0013
  • Both terms refer to states of mind that strive for greater clarity and healthier inner standards.


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