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Emotional Self Awareness and Quality of LIfe

Updated on February 16, 2020
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Kim is licensed in mental health and addiction counseling. Her education is in business, counseling, and health administration.

Emotional Self-Awareness and Quality of Life

People with strong social and emotional skills are more likely to be successful and satisfied with the quality of their life than others who lack these skills. Emotional self-awareness is the foundation upon which more advanced skills are built. Practicing emotional self-awareness is the first step toward improving quality of life.

Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina
Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina | Source

People with strong social and emotional skills are more likely to be successful and satisfied with the quality of their life than others who lack these skills.

Social and Emotional Skills

Social and emotional skills are a set of skills you use to manage yourself and your relationships If you feel out of control and have unstable relationships, your life satisfaction is likely to be very low. If you feel in control of yourself and have supportive and stable relationships, your life satisfaction is probably very high. You can learn new ways to manage yourself and your relationships and achieve greater life satisfaction.

Whether your life has been easy sailing or full of the storms of adversity, you can begin to develop social and emotional skills and strengthen the skills you already have. When you work at developing and strengthening these skills, you are working at improving your quality of life and your satisfaction with life.

Practicing emotional self-awareness is the first step toward improving quality of life.

Emotional Self-Awareness

Emotional self-awareness is the hidden foundation for more advanced social and emotional skills that affect quality of life. Emotional self-awareness means being able to name and understand your feelings and how your feelings influence your actions. It means knowing what you’re feeling and why, and whether your emotional reactions help or hinder you from getting what you want. Emotional self-awareness improves self-control, achievement, outlook on life, resilience, empathy, awareness of the outer world of others, social interactions and relationships with others in our personal life and at work.

Increasing emotional self-awareness, like any other skill, can be developed and requires practice. It’s not something that you either have or don’t have, or that you just read about once and then you have it. Every moment of every day is an opportunity to practice self-awareness. Identify what you are feeling and why. Think about what you want and how to get what you want. Is what you are doing helping or hindering? Notice your senses. What physical sensations do you notice? What do you see, taste, smell, hear and touch?

Feeling Words

Building a Feeling Vocabulary
Building a Feeling Vocabulary

Identifying and Expressing Feelings

The first step in emotional self-awareness is developing a feeling vocabulary and learning to name your feelings using feeling words, such as happy, sad, glad, mad, upset, disappointed, scared, etc. Some people express that they are feeling good or bad or okay or fine, but these aren't feeling words and don't provide the clarity needed for self awareness. Some people have difficulty expressing vulnerable feelings, because they perceive that having these feelings is a sign of weakness and they don't want to be perceived by others as weak. Vulnerable feelings, though, are in the normal range of feelings that we all have. It can be helpful to know that everyone feels vulnerable at times.

It can be helpful to use a list of feeling words to become more familiar with the full range of human feelings. You can make a deck of feeling flashcards by writing feeling words on index cards. The flashcards can be used as a prompt to identify and share about a time when you felt the feeling on the card.

You can use "I" statements as prompts for reflection or journal entries and as a way to effectively express your feelings to others. The "I" statement is constructed in a way that helps you identify what feeling(s) you are experiencing, what your feelings are related to, and what your feelings are telling you about what you want and what you need to do. An "I" statement is:

I feel ________________________


and I would like ________________.

  I feel ______ because _______________, and I would like ____________________.
I feel ______ because _______________, and I would like ____________________. | Source

Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

An important part of emotional self-awareness is being able to honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and accept feedback from others without becoming unduly upset or defensive. Write a list of your strengths and weaknesses and ask others for their feedback. They may agree or disagree with your list, and may offer feedback about strengths and weaknesses you hadn't considered or weren't aware of. Be sure to manage your emotional reaction and thank them for the feedback. Don't let false pride hinder your progress toward developing emotional self awareness. View the video below to evaluate areas of strength and weakness.

Signs of Low Emotional Self-Awareness

Emotional Self-Awareness and Quality of Life

Remember, there is a relationship between social and emotional skills and quality of life. Social and emotional skills are built on a foundation of emotional self-awareness. Use the link below to take an emotional intelligence quiz and complete the quality of life quiz that follows. These will give you a baseline measurement of where you are now in your process of social and emotional development and your current quality of life. As your skills improve with time and effort so will your quality of life. Return here periodically to evaluate your progress.

Quality of Life Questionnaire

Complete this Quality of Life questionnaire to assess your current life satisfaction in the areas of physical well-being, relationships, social and community activities, personal development and recreation. The questionnaire asks you to rate how satisfied or dissatisfied you are at this time with activities and relationships. You can still answer the question if you don’t participate in an activity or have a relationship, because you can be satisfied or dissatisfied with not doing an activity or having a relationship.

Quality of Life Questionnaire

view quiz statistics


Burckhardt CS, Woods SL, Schultz AA, Ziebarth DM (1989). Quality of life of adults with chronic illness: A psychometric study. Research in Nursina and Health, 12, 347-354.

Burckhardt, CS, Clark SR, Bennett RM (1993). Fibromyalgia and quality of life: A comparative analysis. Journal of Rheumatology, 20, 475-479.

Flanagan JC (1978). A research approach to improving our quality of life. American Psychologist, 33, 138-147.

Flanagan JC (1982). Measurement of quality of life: Current state of the art. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 63, 56-59.

Goleman, et al (2017). Building blocks of emotional intelligence: Emotional self-awareness: A primer. More Than Sound, LLC DBA Key Step Media; Florence, MA.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Kim Harris


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    • kimh039 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Harris 

      17 months ago

      You're welcome, Denise. Thank you for taking the time to read and reiterate the value of emotional self-awareness.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      17 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Emotional self-awareness is such a big part of our ability to function, especially when we are faced with difficulty in life. It determines our ability to bounce back and get things back together when we have a setback, and is vital to our well-being. Thanks for reminding us of this.

    • kimh039 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Harris 

      17 months ago

      I am glad to see you are still around and have got your s--t together, Bob. Thank you:)

    • profile image


      17 months ago

      Just got my s--t together and it's time to say goodbye!

      Interesting article

      RC (Now 80!)


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