ow did we get ⅔ of the way through the year already? Feels like we just brought in the New Year last week. There’s still much that has happened socially, economically, and personally and so it seems now is a good time for pause.
Have you taken a moment to self-reflect? How are we doing so far this year?
Better than last year, we hope.
So why self-reflect? And what do you need to do? Why do you need to do it?
No yurt, retreat, or ayahuasca is necessary unless that’s what you’re into.
But you need self-reflection because, just like meditation, it quiets the noise and focuses your energy. It brings self-awareness so that you may look at yourself objectively and make more appointed and thoughtful choices.
It allows you to reset or rewind so you can move forward.
It allows you to appreciate yourself all over again and love what and who you are.
It is existential, but with peace and calm.
Ways to self-reflect can be quite simple whether it’s giving yourself moments of quiet by yourself or with a loved one. It can be going back in your journal or photos and reliving or witnessing moments in your own life. It can even be going through your social media timeline(s) and re-reading what you said or how others reacted.
The benefits of quiet are vast and go beyond a cerebral moment of nostalgia and happiness. It can actually lower your blood pressure, improve your cognition, relax your muscles, decrease your heart rate, and relax your breathing. Ultimately, it activates several parts of your brain.
Quiet also nurtures creativity, giving our imagination room to go wild without interruption.
Think of it this way. You’re daydreaming about something and it vividly runs through your mind until someone suddenly starts talking, the dog starts barking, or the baby starts crying. What have you retained at that point and are you able to jump back into that daydream? Sometimes you can, but it’s not without a recap or struggle to put your mind back in that place.
With quiet, you may self-reflect on what’s working for you and what’s not so that you can move forward without making the same mistakes. Overall, quiet time makes us better communicators, creators, and thinkers so allow yourself 5-10 minutes every day and more as you go on.
Journaling, whether it be with words, drawings, or photos is a good way to improve your comprehension and memory. Journaling for some can be done at the top of the morning or just before bed, and with devices at our fingertips, there are so many ways you can journal.
Google Docs is a quick and easy way to do this. You can keep your journaling in the cloud to access anywhere, but if you’d like it to be super private, most smartphones have a notes section that is just as useful and can even be locked. There are also several journaling apps to choose from. However, you can always take it back to the old composition notebook and pen or pencil days if you really want the nostalgia. Either way, treat your journaling like a conversation with yourself, without judgment around whether you’re using proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Let loose and maybe you’ll press a couple of flowers in there while you’re at it.
Have you ever stopped to realize you’ve been documenting your life all this time? Well, 57% of the global population has some form of social media and there’s a reason they (lead social media figures) call it a timeline, and you should definitely go back and look at it.
Even Facebook and Instagram will pull a memory out of your bank from years ago! Even so, if you have a smartphone sometimes it takes it upon itself to create a memory book or collage of trips you took, pets you have, or children that are growing.
Self-reflection has been made easy with technology taking it upon itself to show you your own life. And some other ways to utilize your phone (besides combing through old photos) is to revisit text message conversations or direct messages on social media. You’ll surprise yourself with how your language has changed from “babe” to “bae”, “da bomb” to “fire”, and when you didn’t know you were being left on “read” until days later.
Self-reflection allows us to enjoy the past and what it’s taught us, see the growth from then until now, be in the present basking in calm, and offers us overall comfort. It fosters our personal growth, giving us a sense of connectedness to others, especially with life-changing experiences. And the nostalgia of it all makes us feel warm and appreciative of simpler times.
May we all self-reflect with fondness.
Tell us, what have you self-reflected on that brings you warmth?