January is the most iconic month when you think of a “reflect and restart” on your life. We sit around and make resolutions of how we wish to better ourselves and our experiences in the new year. We analyze the results of our previous goals set last year and see how we can improve the process in the upcoming year.
So when I think of January, I think of self-reflection.
“Human self–reflection is the capacity of humans to exercise introspection and the willingness to learn more about their fundamental nature, purpose and essence.”Wikipedia; Human self-reflection.
We honestly do this without knowing. We tend to look back on salient and strong elicit experiences in life and wonder what kinds of lessons we learned (or could have learned) from them.
The most common experiences we look back on are the ones that caused the most emotional reactions, whether those are positive or negative ones.
“Something that reflects comes back to you. If you look in a mirror, you will see your reflected image. If you reflect on your past experiences, you look at them once again thoughtfully.“Vocabulary.com; Reflection.
They always say that hindsight is 20/20, meaning that looking back on an experience with a clear mind allows you to get a better understanding of what happened and maybe see it from another perspective.
We get another opportunity to understand the situation, analyze the play-by-play of what went down and what ultimately see how the actions of the event caused the outcome of the experience.
“In psychology, the process of introspection relies exclusively on observation of one’s mental state.”Wikipedia, Self-reflection.
When we begin to analyze our mental states within certain experiences, we do get a deeper understanding of how our bodies physiologically respond within those situations.
For me, it allowed me to understand that certain social or stressful situations were causing me to have emotional panic attacks and I was then able to learn how to cope and adapt to those situation to change their outcome from overtly negative to somewhat neutral, maybe positive at times!
The benefits of Self-Reflection:
First off, one of the major benefits from self-reflection is emotional intelligence, more specifically self-awareness and self-regulation.
Self awareness gives you the ability to understand your emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals, and recognize their impact on others. Self-regulation involves the ability to control or redirect your disruptive emotions and impulses and adapt to changing circumstances.http://www.ngenperformance.com; The Value of Self-Reflection.
When we self-reflect back on important life moments or events, we are getting more insight on our mental capacity to deal with those moments in time. Self-awareness helps the mind while self-regulation helps your body, and both work together to help your overall spirit.
How Do We Self-Reflect?
A common self-reflection technique can be as simple as carefully analyzing and thinking about your own personal thoughts and responses in a given situation/events.
Some questions we can use to reflect back on a situation are:
- Did I achieve everything I set out to?
- What surprised me – good or bad?
- What did I learn?
- What did I do well?
- What do I want to change for next year?
Start a journal. Log those important moments, and then log how you dealt with it and how you felt. You can use the information when you encounter another similar situation – and maybe the outcome will change! I like to believe this is a healthy way of understanding your overall mind-body connection.
Not every experience we have will leave a positive or lasting effect on us, but those that do, we can definitely learn from them and how we can then better ourselves for the next time.