How to improve your ’emotional’ self awareness

On a scale of 1-7, with 7 being ‘very much like me’ and 1 being ‘doesn’t sound like me’, how would you answer these questions:

  • I know which emotions I feel and why
  • I recognise how my feelings affect me and my work performance
  • I have a deep understanding of who I am, my values and beliefs, my motivators +  my goals
  • I am candid in my communications, and am able to speak openly and with conviction about my emotions or my vision

These questions help you to appreciate how strong your ‘Emotional Self Awareness’ attribute is – one of the competencies within the ‘Self Awareness’ dimension of Emotional Intelligence. (Click here to find out more about Emotional Intelligence.)

emotional intelligence

One of the ways to improve your Emotional Self Awareness is to actively become more conscious of the feelings you feel and the impact they have on your thinking, decisions and behaviour. Here is a simple activity to help you do this:


1. Think back over the last 24 hours. What emotions have you felt in the last 24 hours? (Put a mark next to as many as you can recall).

How do you feel

2. Write other feeling words down if you recall feeling other feelings…

3. Think about the triggers for these feelings? (Tip : jot a key word near the feeling word / picture)

4. Pick one positive feeling, and one less positive feeling. Taking each one in turn, reflect on the following questions:

Where were you when you felt this feeling?

Why do you think you felt that way? (What was a possible trigger?)

How long did you feel like this for?

What were you thinking at the time?

Did anything happen as a result of this feeling? If yes, what…

(Possible implications it might have had on your thinking processes, performance, interactions +/or decision-making?

What are you aware of now you are thinking back about this?

5. Sense-making. What did you become aware of during this reflection? What will you start, stop, continue?


Tip : consider keeping a ‘Mood Meter’.

Identifying and articulating your feelings helps to activate the ‘thinking’ part of the brain, the part that is used for language and processing. It helps take us out of the ’emotional’ part of the brain which is responsible for strong emotions and enables people a pause to consider an appropriate response.

mood meter

What are you feeling?

Why do you think you are feeling this way?

What does that tell you? (sense-making, apply meaning)

What do you wish to do about that?

mood meter blank