In recent years the movement for living a more mindful, calmer, happier life has taken hold, and a large part of this practice is not only self-awareness, but self-reflection. By exercising introspection and holding a mirror to your own actions, thoughts and feelings, you can discover more about yourself and how your behaviour affects your everyday life.
One of the most popular and effective self-reflection exercises is asking questions. You may ask questions about your life or your daily actions such as ‘Have I been kind today?’ or ‘Am I happy at work?’ A simple yet effective method is taking some time at the end of each day to write down a handful of questions that crossed your mind while going about your daily routine. Answer honestly, and if you aren’t satisfied with the outcome, make this something to work on the next day, week, month or even year.
Pay attention to self-talk
Each day there is a running commentary inside every person’s head known as internal dialogue or ‘self-talk’ which comments on our tasks and choices. One of the most important elements of a more positive attitude is mindful, kind self-talk. Not all comments have to be positive, but if they are negative, it is far better for your wellbeing for you to speak constructively rather than critically. Instead of using the words ‘should have’, try to use the words ‘next time’, inspiring a shift in perspective and a happier outlook.
Embrace flaws and failure
Not every day will run smoothly, and it is inevitable that you will encounter downfalls and disappointments. But the chance to learn and grow won’t arise without making mistakes. If you feel you have ‘failed’ or you encounter a flaw within your actions, take it as a reminder that not everyone is perfect, and you need these times to show you how to choose wiser words or actions in the future or ways to better your behaviour, ultimately journeying to a happier, more prosperous life.
The more exercises you experiment with, the easier it will become to find self-reflection techniques that work for you. With continued practise, self-reflection will help you find clarity and time for yourself where you may have previously been carried away by the busyness of life.
This article was originally published in Issue 13, Kindness Every Day