Self-Reflection: noun. Serious thought or consideration. Synonyms: thought, thinking, study, musing, consideration, contemplation, deliberation, pondering, meditation, rumination, cogitation.
In today’s busy world, self-reflection has become a lost art for many of us. Once upon a time, Christians spent Sunday (a whole day!) in rest and quiet reflection of God and the nature of their soul. Fast forward to 2018, modern Australians are far more likely playing catch up with household chores, Facebook and getting things done, IF they’re not at work.
Ask 5 people how they are and you’re likely to hear, “Busy.” Most of us equate busy with more productive. Yet many Australian’s are also feeling disconnected. Quite simply, busy-ness costs and many of us have lost our balance being busy doing that we’ve forgotten about the nurturing benefits of quiet time for ourselves and our important loved ones.
Why is Self-Reflection Important?
This is where bringing back the art self-reflection can help. After all, what is the point of being busy if it doesn’t improve your quality of life?
Studies show that practising self-reflection can lead to better self-regulation; psychologist speak for being able to guide your own thoughts, feelings and actions towards your own goals. This means better ability for you to direct your busy-ness towards what you actually want in your life.
How to Practice Self-Reflection
Learning the art of self-reflection can feel strange at first. There is no best way to self-reflect. Simply set aside time to ask yourself your question and capture your answer and ideas and musings.
Self-reflection can be as simple as asking yourself a question before you act. For example, ask yourself, ‘What do I want to achieve by calling?’ before you dial a number. Some people use a daily journal in the morning and write down what they want to achieve in their day- simple. Others choose to reflect on the day by writing at bedtime. It doesn’t matter how you choose to self-reflect, the importance is that you do it.
You can ask the profound. Steve Jobs, keenly aware of the power of self-reflection to focus his performance and legacy, every day asked himself, ‘If today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’.
Self-reflection can also be done with others; close, trustworthy friends or through more formalising programs self-reflection, such as group therapy or working with a psychotherapist to heal or find meaning.
Whether you choose to ask a simple question that helps streamline your busy-ness towards the outcome you want, or you choose to ask a bigger, more soul-searching question about yourself, your life or Higher Power, let’s start reflecting and balance our doing with our being. After all, a better balanced you is great for your health and wellbeing and for everyone who really matters to you.
A version of this blog post first appeared in Peninsula Living, April 2018.