The wellbeing benefits of Self Reflection
Welcome to the New Year. Have you made any resolutions yet? I gave up making resolutions in January a few years ago after researching how aligning tasks and activities with the seasons as much as possible helps bring balance to our lives through the rhythm of the seasons thereby reducing stress and enhancing wellbeing. See my articles on Winter, Spring, Autumn. For us in the Northern hemisphere, January is a hibernation month making it an ideal time to stop, think, reflect and evaluate what we’ve learnt over the last year. For those in the Southern hemisphere, it can still be useful to take some time out after the busy festive season to reflect before making personal changes. We’re all so busy rushing from one thing to the next. Self reflection is considered, detailed thought about your actions, behaviours and ways of thinking, making it a self-care activity with many benefits.
BENEFITS OF SELF REFLECTION
Enhances self awareness – helps you understand your strengths, areas for improvement, what drives you, your likes, dislikes, how you react to things and your impact on others.
Increases self confidence – the more you reflect on your strengths and areas of expertise the more confident you become. It’s positive affirmation.
Builds authenticity – being clear on your intentions, goals, strengths / development areas and likes / dislikes also helps you confidently say “No” to things you aren’t good at, don’t like doing and aren’t aligned to your goals. This will give you more space to do what you want to do and reduce stress.
HOW TO SELF REFLECT
The set up
Carve out a block of time when you know you won’t be disturbed. This could be a one- off activity or something you do over a series of days or weeks.
Find a comfortable spot – this could be a comfy chair, your bed, a spot in nature or even the bath.
Gather your resources – if you are somewhere that enables, you might want to have a notebook and pens on hand or a digital device to record your thoughts. You might want your past year’s diary, saved emails, photos etc. to remind you of things you’ve done over the year. You might also want a favourite drink and snack.
Questions to ask yourself
Go simple: what do I want to keep doing, stop doing, do differently?
Segment: decide on areas of your life such as health, relationships, finances, work, hobbies etc. and ask the questions above for each.
Pick and Mix: from more detailed questions such as these or make up your own.
Consider your feelings: how did you feel last year overall and / or in each segment of your life? Do you want to keep feeling this way or do things to generate different feelings?
After you complete your reflective exercises take the time to celebrate your successes and learnings. Don’t rush into planning your new goals yet. Think of a self-care activity to finish off your reflections with a flourish. You could cook a celebratory meal, have a home spa pamper day, visit a favourite place or somewhere new or take a whole day out to work on a hobby, read or write. Let your imagination run wild.
Now allow some space to ruminate on your reflections before rushing into new plans and actions.