In a world where the to-do lists never seem to end, taking a pause to go within and reflect is like giving your soul a breath of much-needed fresh air.
There’s immense value in taking time to be with yourself. You are, after all, your greatest friend and most trusted ally. Self-reflection greatly improves your quality of life and can also help you deal with the world around you. The value of self-reflection is boundless and, in essence, a form of self-love
There’s no denying that the world can feel like a chaotic and overwhelming place sometimes. Life never stops. We all have places to go and people to see. But when we grasp the value of self-reflection, we start to understand the mapping of our internal worlds so that we can determine how and what we’re really feeling. As we turn inwards, we shut out the external world. In doing so we strengthen our self-awareness and we understand ourselves on a deeper level. We are better equipped to handle our thoughts and emotions, and experience life from a more connected place.
It’s believed that how you start your day
dictates how you move through the rest of your day.
First thing in the morning is a great way to schedule in some time for self-reflection. Many of us stumble out of bed after hitting snooze five times, immediately check our smartphones, grab a coffee, and head out the door to start the day without bothering to take even a minute to self-reflect.
What if you carved out the first half hour or hour of your day for a bit of mindfulness and contemplation? Why not start your day with ease and alignment? Yes, this may mean you may be waking up a tad bit earlier. But a morning practice can be extremely powerful, ensuring that you begin your day with clarity and peace of mind. If you think you’re too busy for morning reflection time, consider the benefits it may have on your productivity and efficacy. According to an article from the Harvard Business Review, self-reflection may lead to better performance and leadership skills.
With the value of self-reflection being so potent first thing in the morning, you’re sure to be reaping innumerable benefits for your overall wellbeing. Besides, you simply can’t show up for others if you can’t show up for yourself first.
There’s really no wrong way to do a morning practice and the multitude of practices that you can incorporate include meditation, yoga, time in nature, and self-inquiry. Find the ones that suit you, your lifestyle, and how much time you have to spare. Even ten minutes of meditation may be enough. And if you simply can’t fathom getting out of bed even a minute earlier, turn your morning routine into an evening ritual. The value of self-reflection certainly isn’t limited to the morning time.
Take a look at these ideas to get you started on your self-reflection journey that can be done morning, noon, and night.
When we take pen to paper, we allow the thoughts that stay cooped up inside our heads to release. With the thousands of thoughts that swim around inside our heads each day, it can get crowded in there. Carving out some writing time can lead to new perspectives and greater self-acceptance. Take a few minutes to write down your thoughts, ideas, and dreams to experience the value of self-reflection for yourself.
If you find you’re stuck with a case of writer’s block, consider writing from a prompt like these. Or you can try the “Morning Pages” concept, developed in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. With this writing exercise, you simply write first thing in the morning without stopping until you get to three pages. This stream of consciousness writing clears the mind, bringing about clarity and self-awareness. This is especially beneficial for mental health, as journaling is essentially a check-in with how you are feeling on a day-to-day basis.
There’s no limit to the benefits of a regular meditation practice. Hundreds of articles cite various mental, physical, and emotional benefits. While of course part of the main idea of meditation is remaining present, thoughts are bound to come through. Even the most seasoned meditators can experience an array of thoughts when they sit down for their practice.
So notice the quality of the thoughts that arise. What does your self-talk sound like? Positive and affirming? Anxious and fearful? Sitting down regularly for meditation or contemplation gives us the opportunity to self-examine our subconscious. When we meditate, we take an honest and introspective look at our internal worlds. We can notice the ways we may be self-sabotaging through limited belief systems and turn them around to a more positive and productive outlook.
When life feels frustrating, it can be all too easy to complain and forget about the good in our lives. A simple gratitude practice may be just the antidote. When you wake up, before you even get out of bed, list in your head five things that you’re grateful for. Or, you can write them down in a journal like The Five Minute Gratitude Journal. With this quick and easy practice, you’re actively choosing to reflect on the positive things in your life. Cultivating a deeper sense of appreciation and thankfulness leads to a healthier and happier life.
4. Mirror Work
What better way to self-reflect than to actually look at your reflection? Mirror work is a modality used for increasing self-awareness and healing. In Louise Hay’s book, Mirror Work: 21 Days to Heal your Life, she writes that looking at yourself in the mirror and specifically speaking affirmations can be immensely powerful.
When we examine our reflection, how we feel about ourselves is reflected back to us. Initially, this practice may seem challenging, as judgments and negative self-talk may come to the surface. We may feel vulnerable taking such an earnest look at our reflection when we so often try to avoid looking at ourselves with such intention. But over time this practice can be a great tool to analyze how you see yourself and turn any negative or self-sabotaging belief systems around through daily affirmations. With mirror work, we develop a strengthened sense of self and experience the value of self-reflection firsthand.
Ultimately, the value of self-reflection is immeasurable. And the more you are able to dive deep into your internal work, the better you are able to connect to who you truly are and what you actually want in life. Take time to ponder and get to know yourself on a more intimate level. From this place of contemplation comes a deeper sense of acceptance, compassion, and reverence for yourself and others.
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