Check Yourself

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Self-awareness is generally an internal process, but there are a few instances in which the outside holds the clues you need to understand what’s going on inside.Without question, how you feel is reflected in how you look. Your facial expressions, posture, demeanor, clothes, and even your hair all say important things about your mood.

Physical appearance is more straightforward—what you wear sends a pretty clear, established message about how you feel. For example, wearing old sweatpants and ratty T-shirts and having disheveled hair every day tells the world you’ve given up, while overdressing for every occasion and never missing your weekly haircut lets people know you are trying too hard. Your demeanor also says a lot about your mood, but the message often gets twisted. If you’re meeting someone for the first time and you’re feeling insecure about how you’ll be received, like many people, you may tend to be aloof and a bit standoffish or get overzealous.

When you find yourself in similar situations, it’s important to notice your mood and consider its influence upon your demeanor. Is the look that you are projecting to the world one that you have chosen, one that your mood created, or one that you tend to lean on by default? Certainly, what you project reflects how you feel, and it’s up to you to understand it. Taking a moment here and there to check yourself will allow you to understand your mood before it sets the tone for the rest of your day.

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