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10 Simple Daily Practices That Can Help You See A Bigger World

10 Simple Daily Practices That Can Help You See A Bigger World

Have you ever just sat, got out of your own thoughts, and observed the world around you—the world for what it actually is and what it has to offer? This world is so big, so vast, and so replete with marvels that one can continue to be amazed every day. However, the world is only as big as you allow your perception to define it. It is only as big as you make conscious efforts to come out of our shells and observe.

We humans go through so much daily and have to do so many things that we forget to look around us, to just sit down and view nature as it is, and observe what is going on in our surroundings. Here are 10 simple daily practices that are fun, practical, and useful and help you see a bigger world.

1. Look up from your smartphones, take off your headphones

Our use of technology immensely limits our awareness of life around us. Engaged with the glowing screens in front of us, instead of the people and the environment around us, we often fail to notice what is going on in our surroundings and miss out simple joys of life. A whole new world exists beyond that glowing screen, but it requires from us to look around and experience all that it has to offer. The effects of the changing seasons, the aesthetics of a venue you are dining at, and a talented street performer beneath the park bridge are just some of the few things that you may find when you start observing. Similarly, while travelling in a vehicle or walking, you can observe better and listen to interesting conversations and sounds around you if you do not have your ears plugged. Therefore, one of the most important daily practices for seeing the bigger world is to limit your use of headphones and smartphones when you step outside.

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2. Don’t take the same path to or from school/work

On your walk or drive to or from school/work, take a different path each day. You’ll be amazed at how much you discover when you do so! It is very easy to follow the same path daily, but what’s the point in that? You will see different patterns, different people, different architecture, different street art etc. when you keep changing your path and observe keenly on your way.

3. Close your eyes and listen to your surroundings

Stop and listen to the sounds of the natural environment around you–the chirping, whistling and singing of the birds, the buzzing of bees, rustling of tree leaves, and the various sounds of the city, all may bring new information to you. Train your ears to listen for new things and notice different sounds.

4. Observe and talk to people around you

From jogging in the park to the line in the café, there are countless opportunities to meet new people and talk to them, but we have to be looking around and observing them in order to notice and take advantage of the opportunity. Observing and talking to people is another of the simple daily practices that can help you see the bigger world and expand your worldview as people share their experiences with you.

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5. Challenge yourself to pay attention to new things

Keeping a look out for new things is easier said than done. You cannot just plan that you will start observing the world more from today and expect that it happens too. Instead you might be able to produce better results when you challenge yourself to do so. For example, you can assign yourself a scavenger hunt, i.e. select something for you to look for during your walk or anytime you are out during the day. This could be anything, security cameras, orange flowers, people with headphones or anything. You can also challenge yourself to take a photo of a unique thing every day or with different challenges each day for keeping it interesting.

6. Sit in a public place and journal

Take out a few minutes to sit in a public place, such as a bus station, a park, a shopping mall, etc. Observe the people around and record details about them, such as how they are dressed, the expressions they are wearing on their faces, etc. Note the details and write about whatever comes to your mind or about the way the scene made you feel. This will also help you find out new things around you that you never noticed before.

7. Consume entertainment actively

While watching a movie or listening to a song, we are often tempted to zone out. But thinking about what the director of a movie was trying to get at when he/she added a particular aspect in the story or what the song’s lyrics actually mean may be another of the important simple daily practices to make you see the bigger world and practice observation.

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8. Get lost—explore the streets and alleys you have never been to before

When you have free time, get outside and explore places you have never been to before. You may discover a new café or restaurant, different new street performers, another breed of dogs that you never knew about, or a new way back to home. You become so mindful of your surroundings when you explore new streets and alleys.

9. Analyse what you see or read, and ask questions

When you observe your surroundings or read something, stop and question your thoughts. Start asking as much questions as you can, which will help you think critically. This also helps in boosting your skills of deduction and observation in general, while also expanding your knowledge about the world.

10. Make connections between what you see and the knowledge you have

For seeing a bigger world, your daily practices also need to include connecting your previous knowledge to what you see or observe. For example, you see a child having trouble in reading. You know this could be related to vision problems or it may be dyslexia so you look for symptoms of both and make a deduction on the basis of the ones that are found more prominently in the child. In this way you will be able to learn more and enhance your knowledge in general.

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Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Mehwish A. Wahid

Writer and Researcher

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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