If there’s one thing in life that always sneaks up on us when we least expect it, it’s stress. That throbbing in our temple, the tightness in our belly, the sudden harsh word – these are just a few symptoms of stress. It feels infectious, contagious, like we can’t get it under control! The main reason the majority of us feel stress is because we don’t have the right tools to manage it – even catch it before it can take hold.
The good news is that we now know that stress isn’t always a bad thing, when we use the right tools to understand it and use it to our advantage. One of these powerful tools is emotional awareness, and I’ve developed a process for awakening your emotional awareness called SWEEP:
- Practice humility
Master your emotional awareness through the SWEEP Process:
Ask yourself a few deep questions about your life and answer honestly. Start with, What are my top ten weaknesses? Be willing to accept that you’re not perfect and that you could work on some areas to make yourself a better person. Don’t be afraid. This is just a simple starting point to connecting with how you really feel.
Observe how you interact with—and react to—people. Be brutally honest here.
Do you rush to judgment before you know all the facts? Are you a good listener? Do you begin speaking before someone finishes telling you the problem? Do you stereotype? Do you blame others or become angry with them, even when the solution is out of their control? Do you examine how your decisions and actions will affect others? Do you ask yourself how they will feel? Do you explore the consequences of your words and actions before they become a reality—or afterward?
If we can cultivate our ability to listen and observe, and then look at potential consequences before we speak or act, at least we’re moving forward with eyes wide open rather than blind to the outcome.
How do you react to stressful situations? What do you do in the moment when your daily needs aren’t met? Do you become upset when there’s a delay, hiccup, speed bump, or roadblock? When something doesn’t happen the way you want, what’s your first reaction? The ability to stay calm and in control in difficult situations is an amazing gift you can give yourself by taking a long, slow, deep breath in at the first sign of an unmet need.
Put yourself in the shoes of others. Ask them what their needs are. Try this powerful practice with your spouse, partner, workmates, boss, and employees. Starting today—yes, right now—approach people in your life and ask them, “What do you need?” And, “How can I help?” Remember that they will have to take some time to explore and understand their own needs also. But I can assure you that the dynamic between you and them will transform and elevate. If there was once discord or stress, it will be replaced by appreciation and gratitude.
5. Practice humility:
Let go of the need to defend your actions or sing your own praises. This concept is so often misunderstood. When you practice humility, you are essentially saying, “I know what I have done. I have confidence in my work or actions. I am comfortable with my level of self-esteem.” Right now, are you seeking attention for your accomplishments?
Get over it! It’s so draining and disempowering when we shift the solution onto someone else’s plate to validate our magnificence. Instead, dedicate yourself to singing the praises of others and shine the light on them. Be one of the people in their front row! But also take full responsibility for your actions. Own your impact. And if you’ve hurt someone, apologize. Close the loop.
By practicing SWEEP on a daily basis— at least making a commitment to practice one component each day—you can shift your stress response in less than a week, elevate your emotional awareness to a new level of brilliance, and effortlessly start to destressify.
You can see many of Davidji’s self guided meditation videos at Grokker.com, the online video streaming service. We invite you to enjoy the first month of premium membership free at Grokker by using the promotional code MEDITATION,