Reflection in the form of journaling boosts our immune system, improves our memory, increases gratitude and reduces anxiety. Reflection helps us make better choices, feel more confident and strengthen our relationships. .
Journaling is simply taking time to reflect and then writing down your thoughts and feelings so you can better understand and learn from them.
Each of us have different ways of expressing our thoughts, feelings and ideas whether it’s writing, drawing, singing, sculpting, gardening or even cooking. If you are drawn to creative forms of expressing yourself, embrace art as a way to reflect and express.
We come into contact (news, social media, water cooler convos) with so many reminders of the challenges we face as individuals and communities. It’s important to also acknowledge the people, places and things we appreciate in our lives. Start by making a list of 3 to 5 things you’re grateful for daily.
Reflection meditation involves finding a place of quiet and stillness, focusing on your breathing and then asking yourself a series of questions while in that meditative state. Some examples could be “what did today teach you?”, “what insight or inspiration do you want to take with you into the world today?”, “what are you grateful for today” or “what are your goals for the future?”.
More Tips on Reflection
- Reflection is about finding stillness and a space where we can examine and gain insight from our thoughts, feelings and experiences. Start by setting aside time each evening to sit and breathe for 5 to 10 minutes while reflecting on your day. Then write any thoughts, feelings, questions, inspirations or takeaways in your journal.
- Reflection is a skill that develops over time. Consistency is key. Try to pick a time each day (morning or evening work well for most people) to reflect, journal or meditate. Try to stick with the routine, even if you aren’t feeling it (that’s often when we need it most). If you don’t have the energy or focus for a full reflection and journaling session, just make a short gratitude list or simplify your practice that day.
- Reflection isn’t a school or work assignment and there are no right or wrong answers. Don’t edit or censor yourself. It’s about honesty and openness.
- At its core, reflection is about curiosity. The more curious we are about our own thoughts and feelings, other people’s perspectives and different ways we can take care of and improve our mental health, the more informed, powerful and personalized our self-care practices will become.
- While you can capture reflections and insights many ways (journaling in a notebook, making notes in your phone, sending yourself an email), experts suggest handwriting these thoughts and reflections may help us retain and feel more connected to them.
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