Self-Reflection? What is it? Why it matters and ways to practice

We lead busy lives. When we have downtime, many of us rarely have time to reflect on things happening in our lives, especially these days when Netflix and social media eat up most of our free time.

When was the last time you made a conscious effort to reflect on what you are feeling or what’s been happening in your life? When was the last time you felt present and comfortable at your pace in life? What is self-reflection, and why does it matter?

What is self-reflection?

Thinking about what is going on with your life is part of being human. Self-reflection, also known as self-introspection, goes deeper than regular casual thinking. It involves analyzing several aspects of our lives. Aside from pondering about events in your life, self-reflection also involves developing insights into them.

Why does self-reflection matter?

You might wonder why we need self-reflection. It may sound too profound or too weird for you, or probably not just your cup of tea. But once you get into the habit of self-reflection, you will find it useful both in your day-to-day life and in achieving long-term goals.

More often than not, self-reflection is requisite in becoming the best version of yourself. It allows us to identify the good and the bad things that we are doing (or that are happening to us), what we really want to happen in our life, what is holding us back and so much more. It allows us to make the right decisions and help us focus on things that will help us achieve our goals.

Self-reflection helps us put things in perspective. When we find time to stand back and observe, we are less prone to get upset or stressed over our misinterpretation of what happened to us. It is easier to process our emotions and thoughts when we know their root cause. Through self-reflection, we will be able to understand why we are feeling or thinking in a certain way.

Many mistakes could have been avoided if only we took the time to reflect on our actions and remind ourselves to do better next time. On the other hand, you won’t be able to fully capitalize on a certain thing you had been doing well because you failed to realize it and you weren’t able to repeat it again.

Practicing self-reflection allows you to keep track of your progress and how you are doing in all aspects of your life including your relationship with others. This way, you can readily make necessary adjustments if needed and you can take note of the things you are good at.

Self-Reflection Practices: Questions to Ask and Other Ways to Do It

1.Determine the important questions you should ask yourself regularly (daily, weekly, monthly).

If you don’t know where to begin, a good way to start is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I being true to myself?

  • Am I achieving my goals?

  • Do I often have negative thoughts? If yes, why?

  • Do I wake up in the morning feeling ready for the day ahead? If not, why?

  • Am I taking good care of myself mentally, emotionally, and physically?

  • Am I making use of my time wisely?

  • How are my relationships with others?

  • Do I easily get stressed out over things beyond my control?

A good question to ask on a daily basis is: How am I feeling today? It’s best to record your thoughts and feelings in a journal.

2. Keep a journal.

Writing in a journal allows you to think about your experiences, to express your thoughts and feelings. It also provides you a visual and more accurate way to look back on past experiences for you to identify patterns in your thoughts and habits.

3. Write a gratitude journal.

While regular journaling is a good way of letting your thoughts and feelings out and improves your well-being, keeping a gratitude journal takes the experience to a whole different level. It is also very easy to do. The simplest way is to jot down the things you are grateful for that day.

It can simply be a list (even in just bullet points) or you can provide more details if you want. You can form this habit so easily, and it can greatly help in boosting your mood. With the help of a gratitude journal, you can become more aware of the good things that you have in your life. It is also a good tool when you need a pick-me-up.

4. Read a book.

You don’t have to limit yourself in reading self-improvement books to learn more about yourself. Reading novels can make you discover more about yourself too. You can learn what you like and what you don’t.

5. Spend some time in nature.

It’s best if you can spend a weekend getaway in nature to free yourself from all the distractions of the busy world and recharge. But you don’t have to wait for some weekend getaway, you can simply take a walk in nature. Getting some fresh air can clear your head and a quiet time in nature is ideal for personal reflection.

6. Practice Mindfulness exercises.

Mindfulness is a form of meditation where you intensely focus on what you are sensing and feeling in the moment, free of judgment or interpretation. Mindfulness exercises involve breathing methods, guided imagery, and other relaxation exercises for the body and mind. It helps in reducing stress.

Here are some simple ways you can practice mindfulness:

  • Pay close attention and live in the moment. It’s difficult to slow down and notice things when you are living in this fast-paced world. Take time to experience your environment through all your senses. For instance, when you eat your favorite meal, take time to savor the smell, taste, and enjoy every bite. Live in the moment. You can do this by intentionally bringing open and discerning attention to all that you do. Enjoy the simple pleasures you experience every day.

  • Focus on your breathing. Every time negative thoughts get through you, sit down, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Focus and feel your breath as it moves in and out of your body.

You may also want to try more structured mindfulness practices like sitting meditation. You can do this by sitting down comfortably with your back straight, hands in the lap, and feet flat on the floor. Breathe through the nose, focus on your breathing. When thoughts or physical sensations interrupt your meditation, take note of the experience and then shift your focus to your breath.

During self-reflection, you may dig up some wounds of the past that are left unaddressed. Or you may find things that are bothering you at the moment. Often people revert to Reiki sessions as a popular form of energy healing, however, in this case where we are looking to heal old wounds, or even the inner child, Intuitive Energy Healing where we can focus on emotional healing and emotional release would be more effective for better holistic health management. Through this type of energy healing, negative emotions that are stuck inside the body can finally be attended to and released safely through this natural and gentle healing method, eliminating energy blockages. This way, you are freed from those negative emotions that may have been holding you back, the ones that may be affecting your decision-making, and be able to move forward and get more out of life, the way that your true self would want you to!