To help you decide if this is the right book for you we have provided the table of contents followed by a short preview/passage from the book.
Chapter One: What Is Self?
The Physical Self
The Emotional Self
The Mental Self
The Spiritual Self
The body never lies.
Chapter Two: Awareness of the Physical Self
Procrastination is the thief of time.
Chapter Three: Time Management
The touchstone of validity is my own experience.
Chapter Four: The Emotional Self
Validity of Emotions
Utility of Emotions
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.
Chapter Five: Mood Management
Categories of Emotion
We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.
Chapter Six: The Mental Self
The thing that’s important to know is that you never know. You’re always sort of feeling your way.
Chapter Seven: Interpersonal Awareness
Addressing Different Thinking Styles
Addressing Different Learning Styles
Active Listening and Body Language
Chapter Eight: The Spiritual Self
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.
Chapter Nine: Limitations of Self Awareness
Excessive Self Discipline
Chapter Ten: Independence versus Interdependence
What is Interdependence?
More Than the Sum of All Parts
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.
ScanningOne of the best ways to develop a habit of being physically aware comes from mindfulness meditation and the specific practice of scanning. This practice allows you to focus your attention throughout your body and take note of how things stand. Since we often make stressful situations worse by holding tension in our muscles, practicing this method can make you aware, even in the midst of stress, of where this tension might be hiding and intensifying things.
Progressive RelaxationWhile scanning can be an effective tool in becoming more aware of one’s physical self, a variation on this technique can actually improve one’s ability to relax. This technique is called progressive relaxation. It’s identical in process to scanning except that when you place your focus on a specific part of your body, you also tense up all the muscles in that area for 2-3 seconds, as you take deep breaths, and then you release the muscles. By tensing and releasing your muscles, you actually release any muscular tension that your were holding in your muscles before performing this technique. Progressive relaxation is a prelude to another technique called a relaxation response. This technique allows a person to immediately initiate a feeling of relaxation in the body without having to lie down or meditate. The Relaxation Response is achieved by consciously tensing all the muscles in your body at once as you inhale, and then relaxing all of your muscles together as you exhale.
While the relaxation response can be supremely helpful when you find yourself in a stressful situation, and progressive relaxation is immensely helpful when you can’t fall asleep in bed, among other uses of the technique, consciously tensing one’s muscles is not healthy for everyone to practice. If you have TMD, a condition where you grind your teeth frequently, tensing the jaw muscles could actually be detrimental. The same applies if you have various types of physical injuries where the muscles around the injured body part are already tense and increasing tension can have negative results. If you are unsure of whether you should practice progressive relaxation or the relaxation response, you should probably consult with your doctor or stick to scanning as a method of increasing physical awareness and relaxation.
As you become more physically aware, you should also become more aware of physical elements that create stress in your life. These can be varied and can have as much to do with what is outside your body as what you put into your body. Smoking, losing sleep, eating unhealthily, or setting up your work space non-ergonomically are just a few examples of physical stressors.
While stress is an inevitable consequence of being alive, you can reduce stress in your life both by eliminating elements that cause you stress and developing strategies that reduce your physical stress.