Taking the Time to Self Reflect? Thought Not

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Sierra Blaser, Reporter

We live in a world where things are unreasonably fast paced. With the busyness of daily life and our phones constantly buzzing with the latest school assignment or social media update, we forget to take the time to sit down with our thoughts and reflect. In fact, self reflection has become a lost craft around the world. But before we get into the discussion of why it’s important, we first need to answer the question “what is self reflection?” It is defined as the “meditation or serious thought about one’s character, actions, and motives.” It’s looking at your behavioral habits, emotional responses, decisions, and “why”? Getting into the habit of self reflecting can help improve self awareness, communication skills, and promote understanding. There are few things that are more important for your mental well-being than taking the time to do some soul searching.

Society often looks forward to the next steps in life: the next level of education, next job, next relationship…and as a result we lose sight of the here and now. We’re so used to moving on to the next task right away, that we forget to take breaks. No pauses. No stops. We keep running on the treadmill of life thinking that there is no time to waste, leading us to stay in relationships that wear on us or jobs we don’t actually enjoy. It’s important, however, to turn that treadmill off and take some time to get some introspect on our behavioral habits. The good news is that everyone is completely capable to doing this activity. All it takes is time, self awareness, and commitment.

So what are some ways you can start self reflecting? As a skilled over-thinker, I’ve had a lot of experience with analyzing my reactions and habits to different situations. The key points to starting your journey are to:

  1. Stop what you’re doing. Find the time to take a step back from the internet, school, work, and your relationships and find some time for yourself.
  2. Identify the problem or emotion you want to focus on. This can be done simply by taking the time to think on your own, or picking a question/prompt from a list and going from there.
  3. Listen to your heart and recognize the problem. When you take the time to truly look at yourself, you’ll be able to recognize what’s holding you back and how to be the better you. Ask the “what” and “why” questions until you get to the root of the problem.
  4. Take initiative. Once you’re able to recognize whatever is holding you back, continue on with life and try to correct your behavioral habits. If you were allowing people to take advantage of your kindness, let yourself say no. If you’re not allowing yourself to be the person you want to be, take baby steps and stay on track to reach that goal.

While self reflection is a good skill to develop, it’s important not to go too far. Over analyzing yourself can lead to even more stress or anxiety, and even levels of depression. Find a pace that works for you, because at the end of the day you know yourself best. Here are some extra tips on how to get started:

  • Grab a journal. I’ve found that writing my thoughts down helps me keep track of where I’m going. Start with a topic or prompt, and dig deeper and deeper until you’re satisfied with that you’ve learned.
  • Start meditating. If writing isn’t something you’re interested in, meditation is always another great option. Find a quiet place to sit or lay down and simply get your thoughts going with a focus.
  • Be honest. At the end of the day, self reflecting holds no value if you’re not willing to be honest with yourself about the troubles you’re facing and what you want out of life. Hold yourself accountable and learn from yourself.

If you’re not already taking the time to self reflect, this is your wake-up call. Try going for a walk, meditating, or getting that empty notebook out to journal. There isn’t a right or wrong way to do this, so reflect the way that works best for you.