The new calendar year approaches, the television, radio and social media are intent on not letting the end of the year pass without a grand farewell. What were your thoughts as 2013 was drawing to a close? Were you celebrating the end of the year or rejoicing in the new beginning and making plans for 2014? I wonder how much time you spend reflecting on your own personal year? How have you managed, changed and been influenced by the shaping forces of living in a new culture? New Year celebrations are often marked by the setting of new goals and resolutions, without giving the year that has passed time for reflection and consolidation.
But some of the many benefits of Reflection are:
∼ Remember and re-experience and give you deeper meaning to your successes and learning, giving you even more reason to celebrate
∼ Discover or rediscover your strengths and other reasons for your success
∼ To understand the how and why of your emotional reactions to events and people and how that may have impacted on others
∼ Help you become the leader of your life, rather than leaning on others for direction
∼ Increase your confidence, resilience, motivation, and engage in higher more complex levels of cognition. Another way of saying, reflection helps you to be mentally and emotionally stronger, smarter and wiser
∼ Learn what your weaknesses and mistakes were and how you can overcome and learn from them
∼ Allow you to acknowledge the goals you set and completed and to recognize those that changed form along the way
∼ To get to know or remind yourself of your values, and to evaluate if you are living a life in harmony with your values
∼ To put your life into perspective
∼ Create new ideas, move beyond obstacles and help set new goals
Reflection can take many forms and can occur anywhere. Walking in the forest is my favourite reflective activity. It is where I normally clear the cobwebs of my mind, find clarity of thought and creative responses to difficult situations.
Writing is another very good activity of reflective thought. Be it only this once, at the passing of a year and the beginnings of a new one, or the small task of daily reflection kept in a diary.
A daily reflection diary date requires some practice to make it habitual. Set a time of day for this to occur, for example after your nightly shower or bath. Spend 5 to 10 minutes writing your thoughts about events of the day. You can increase the time you spend writing as you become more comfortable, in fact you may enjoy the task so much the length of time increases without you having to try.
Talking is another very good method of reflection. Seek the ears of a friend or counsellor, someone who is a good listener, who is able to reflect back to you your thoughts and feelings, to help guide you to greater self-understanding.
Finding your preferred methods of reflection can be fun and with practice will build strong reflective habits. This in turn, will help you to grow and move forward with clarity of what has passed and greater purpose into the new year.