The past 20 months or so have forced all of us to take a closer look at ourselves — our actions, our friends, our beliefs. And while that seems like the perfect recipe for lots of time to take care of ourselves, including positive self-reflection, the reality is that many of us went into a state of avoidance instead. Rather than using the pressures of the world to refine ourselves through careful reflection, it was much easier to simply avoid taking a closer look at things, especially ourselves, which is why 2020 only became more difficult for many.
Thankfully, with 2021 nearly behind us and a brighter horizon ahead, we have another opportunity for growth. While it feels more and more like we’re on the other side of all these 'crazy' events, they’re still fresh enough (and some still very much present in our daily lives) that we can use them as powerful tools for self-reflection. Unlike last year and most of this year, when the abruptness and shock of monumental changes shifted most of us into a survival mode, many of us are now in a (slightly) more relaxed state, which means work like self-reflection is now more accessible.
Rather than avoiding the tough questions, the “why’s” behind your thoughts and actions, now is the perfect time to actually sit and reflect, which is one of the most powerful tools for emotional growth.
If you’re looking to benefit from self-reflection, below are a few of the most effective and “tried-and-true” ways to get started…
3 Effective Methods for Self-Reflection
1. Journal Questions. One of the most important parts of self-reflection is to come back to certain core questions often. For this reason, starting a journaling practice is a great place to start. By choosing a few core questions that resonate with you and your life right now, you can use your journal as an opportunity to check in with yourself, your progress, and the direction you’re heading. Some great questions to begin with include: What matters most in my life? What do I love about myself? What do I need to change in my life? What am I grateful for? What continues to be my biggest distraction? Am I consistently using my time wisely?
2. Get Outside. Nature is a great place for self-reflection because it really encourages you to unplug and slow down. Unlike your home, which is full of distractions and to-do-list reminders, nature is unburdening; it always offers you a space to relax and simply just be. Whether you journal outside, meditate beneath a tree, or just spend time alone by yourself on a walk or a hike, using the outdoors as a space for self-reflection is a powerful way to really estimate where you’re at in your life right now.
3. Meditate. Meditation is continuing to gain in popularity, which is great news, especially for those wanting to create space for self-reflection. If meditation makes you feel uneasy, keep in mind that there are thousands of different ways to “do” meditation correctly. If you want guided meditations, YouTube and other free apps are filled with great videos and audio meditations that can take you through step by step. And if you want a more relaxed approach, simply find a quiet place where you can sit still and focus on your breath!
As you continue to spend time in self-reflection, you’ll realize that you gain new perspectives that help you better understand who you are, where you are, and where you want to be going. The more you self-reflect, the more you’ll be primed to reach your full-potential. Rather than avoiding the difficult questions in life, face them head on and watch yourself grow!