As children, we are often told “think about what you are about to do” or “think about what you’ve done.” As adults, we are still sometimes guilty of not thinking about our choices – before or after we make them. It’s understandable that our busy schedules move us from one activity to another with little time to breathe – let alone think. But the regular practice of self-reflection is essential to understanding ourselves more clearly and changing our thinking and/or behaviors more easily.
How does taking time to self-reflect benefit you?
First, it can help you identify the thoughts and beliefs you have about yourself. We all have them: beliefs about what we are good at, bad at, how we fit into our families and the work place. It’s important, though, to see these beliefs as your perception, rather than absolute truth. Decide which beliefs help you and which do not. Think about what you can do to change the ones that may be getting in your way.
Another benefit of self-reflection is to take yourself off of “auto-pilot.” Whether it’s a daily fast food choice or the cigarette you have first thing in the morning, many behaviors are habits. Becoming aware of what we do can help us break the habits that are not helping us live a healthy life.
Finally, taking time to self-reflect can lead you to even greater ideas, choices, and goals. For example, if you begin making conscious, healthy choices about food, you are more likely to add exercise to your day. Noticing the successes you are having – no matter how small – leads to further success.
Real ways to self-reflect:
- Don’t turn on the car radio when heading to work. Quiet is a good way to focus on what you want to accomplish.
- Keep a journal. Whether on paper or electronically, writing down your goals and actions is a very effective way to make healthy choices.
- Take a walk. A short walk at lunchtime or after dinner can be a great way to think about your day.
- Breathe. Simply concentrating on your breath can take you off auto-pilot.
This article was published in the August 2013 edition of the Completely Well newsletter from WorkingWell. Courtesy of Complete Wellness Solutions.
WorkingWell is a network of occupational health services and part of Franciscan Alliance, Inc. With locations in Northwest Indiana (Crown Point, Hammond, Michigan City, Munster, Valparaiso), Greater Indianapolis (Greenwood, Mooresville), and south suburban Chicago (Chicago Heights, Olympia Fields), WorkingWell’s team of professionals provide high-quality medical care to business and industry, with a primary goal to work closely with employers to ensure employees are “working well.” For more information about WorkingWell’s services and programs, visit http://www.workingwellsite.org.