"Reflection is a powerful tool that allows one to think back, observe actions, and learn from them," says Shevantika Nanda, a Gurgaon-based Counselling Psychologist. She adds that one can improve one's life by observing your thoughts, feelings and actions. "The steps towards reflection may seem deceptively simple, but the key lies in maintaining consistency to start observing positive life changes," she says.
Want to start reflecting? Follow Nanda's suggestions below.
Actively make time and space to reflect.
Assigning a fixed time and place to reflect allows one to get in the zone. A time place boundary will enable one to focus on what is essential at the moment and minimize distractions. A great way to start would be to take out 15 minutes at a fixed time every day and sit down in a quiet place, preferably a place you don't use for too many things (e.g.: not bedroom/TV room etc.).
Identify values and goals
When thinking about values and goals, it is useful to use periods. It makes it easier for the brain to compute. So if you are looking at a period of one year, for example, think about what is important for you in that year and what it would look like if things went exactly your way. That will then help you better identify what is important for you. It is harder to make the right decision when you don't understand your motivators (goals and values).
Really think about your thoughts and feelings
When thinking about a particular situation, try to use as many specific emotions as you can. So instead of limiting it to happy/sad/angry, try to be more specific. A great way to start is to simply ask what did I feel at that time and what did my body feel at the time. This allows you to make the connection between how different emotions impact your body.
So now you know how different situations may leave you feeling and what is important to you. The next step is about bridging the gap between where you are and where you want to be. So when you think about an experience, focus on what you might do differently if you were to find yourself in the same situation again. Similarly, once you have identified your goals, think about small steps you can take each day to get a little closer to achieving them. For example, if you recognise that your goal is to be more punctual, the action component could be starting to get ready five minutes before you usually would.
Gratitude is an excellent way to ensure that your reflections include a positive component. It also forces you to shift your focus on things that are going well. In fact, research suggests that the positive impacts of practising gratitude regularly can be felt for several months. An easy way to start is to write one thing that went well, one person who was nice, one small achievement. Alternatively, you can simply write three small things you are grateful for from each day. It could be as simple as a cup of coffee, a warm bed or a tasty meal.