What is Self-Reflection and How to Use it in Your Life

Reflecting on our lives isn’t something that just happens at New Years–or at least it shouldn’t be that way. How often have you stopped and looked at your life wondering how you got stuck at the job you did or wondered why you react in the same way all the time to your kids? Though it may not seem like those things have much in common, they do. Without taking time to self-reflect, we keep moving on in our lives, not taking the time to understand who we are, what our purpose is, and how we can improve ourselves.

At Third River Health, we believe that self-reflection is a critical tool that can lead to an abundant and enjoyable life. So keep reading, and we’ll tell you exactly why that is and how to use this tool for your benefit, as well as the benefit of those closest and dearest to you. Because let’s face it, when we’re not doing well emotionally and mentally, a lot of our lives are out of whack.

What Exactly is Self-Reflection?

Let’s be honest. The world we live in is a busy, busy place. We are always trying to make the most of our time by being as productive as possible. That’s not bad in and of itself, but when we are constantly looking to the next task, the next meeting, or the next child to pick up, without considering our mental state, it can lead to dangerous situations.

A life without reflection can lead to:

  • Unhealthy relationships filled with bitterness and resentment
  • It can take you to a place of hatred towards a job
  • It can leave you so burnt out with nothing left in you to give out to others. S

Self-reflection is not natural, but it’s vital (1). This is about stopping, even if there is a floor that needs to be mopped, a paper to write, or a business meeting to prepare for. Self-reflection helps you become aware of your thoughts, what you’re feeling, and where you’re headed. It’s being able to pause, breathe, and process voluntarily.

Why is Self Reflection Important?

This discipline is beneficial for many reasons:

Self-Reflection Reinforces Purpose

It helps you to better assess what your purpose in life is. Let’s face it: the tasks we face daily can get mundane and frustrating. Stopping to reflect on what your purpose is can help you understand that what you’re doing is valuable and important.

Self-Reflection Brings Change

Throughout our days we are sure to fail and make mistakes. We often beat ourselves up for those failures rather than acknowledging them, releasing them, and working towards change. When we take the time to reflect on our weaknesses, we can remind ourselves of our strengths, which will encourage us to keep up the fight.

Self-Reflection Makes Us Aware

Many times we can struggle with specific emotions or responses to certain situations, yet we can’t quite put our finger on why we’re reacting that way again and again. Reflecting can help you process through these troublesome emotions and feelings you’re dealing with and can help you improve attitudes and most importantly, relationships. It takes a certain vulnerability to self-reflect, but it’s so worth it.

Two Ways You Can Self-Reflect

There are a multitude of ways to process through things, but here are two that we think are super beneficial in the process:

1. Write

Find something to write in or on. Grab a journal, a tablet, or a laptop, whatever suits your fancy, and begin scribbling down what you’re feeling and thinking. Writing is constructive in processing through things going on in your soul, and it will help you keep a log of the progress you have made along the way.

2. Ask Questions

Formulate a list of questions that will help you process. They can be any of the following.:

  • What’s going well in life and what’s creating havoc?
  • What am I passionate about and how can I use it in my daily life?
  • What brings me joy and what tears me down?
  • What am I thankful for?
  • What is the vision for my life and how can I reach my goals?
  • How can I respond differently in “this” situation?
  • What can I do when I am stressed or anxious?

And Go

Self-reflection won’t just happen on its own. It takes motivation, time, and accountability. Here are two ways to help you begin your new journey:

1. Make Time

Like we mentioned earlier, self-reflecting shouldn’t just happen once a year. Find a time that’s best for you. Do you want to do it every morning before the events of the day or at night after your day is through and you desperately need to process through emotions and people? Or maybe you’d like to pick a time each week or month to reflect. Other times that are beneficial to self-reflect are after a stressful or saddening event like a fight with someone or the anniversary of someone’s death. There are also a ton of wellness retreats made just for this- where you can reflect, plan, cleanse, and get back to life.

2. Find Someone

Don’t go at it alone. Sometimes it’s helpful to get away on our own and self-reflect, but it can be very valuable to have someone alongside you to work things out. This can be a spouse or a close friend or even a counselor. They might be able to pinpoint areas of your life t that you cannot on your own. So now that you know all about self-reflecting, why it’s essential to an abundant life, and how to self-reflect in a way that works for you personally, what’s stopping you? Perhaps you’re afraid of what you might find deep down? Maybe you feel like you don’t have the time to sit back and pause on life for a moment? Whatever is keeping you from the important practice of self-reflection, choose to let it go, because it’s worth it, we promise. It will help you be more aware of yourself, give you a different outlook on life, and help you learn to respond differently to situations. If you have more questions on how to begin to self-reflect, we’d be happy to talk to you more about it at any time.

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