(RxWiki News) The coming of a new year is a great time to look forward. But it's also a great time to look inward.
Looking inward and assessing your goals, feelings and thoughts is called self-reflection. It's a practice that can be beneficial for both your life and health. Here's how.
Why Self-Reflection Matters
Self-reflection is a powerful tool that allows you to better understand how you feel about certain experiences. It helps you set goals and process things that have already happened. And, according to some studies, self-reflection can strengthen your emotional intelligence. Having more developed emotional intelligence can help you deal with and understand future challenges you may face.
That means you may face less stress. And stress is a known factor that can harm health in a variety of ways.
Additionally, turning inward to reflect on difficult or negative experiences you have had may help you create some mental distance between the events in question and your perspective on them. This distance can help you process your feelings about the negative experience and move forward.
That's the power of self-reflection. Done right, it can have a beneficial impact on your health and life in general. But how, exactly, should you self-reflect? Below, we examine three useful ways to get started.
1. Reflective Writing
The end of the year or the beginning of a new one is the perfect time to do some reflective writing. This can look a lot of different ways, but the key is to actually sit down and write about something that's on your mind. You may write to assess how you feel about the events of the past year, or you may write to define your goals for the new one.
In either case, the act of writing will force you to reflect on what you're writing about. You may be surprised what comes out when you actually put pen to paper.
The act of meditating is all about quiet self-reflection. Whether you're completely new to meditation or it's a regular part of your routine, you can direct your meditative thinking toward self-reflection to untangle any issues you've been wrestling with or set goals for the new year.
Regardless of what you're thinking about while you meditate, you stand to gain some of the potential health benefits of meditation. Various studies have linked meditation to a variety of benefits, including the following:
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced physical pain
- Anti-anxiety and anti-depressive feelings
- Better overall mental health
3. Nature Walks
Self-reflection can be a challenge in a world filled with screens and endless media. But nothing strips away all that noise faster than a walk in nature.
Nature has its own sights and sounds, but they tend to be much more conducive to reflection and deep thinking. So, if you want to reflect on your year and your future, make time for a walk in nature.
You'll get some much-needed time to reflect, and you'll set yourself up for some potential health benefits. According to at least one study, spending two hours or more in nature each week was tied to well-being and good health.
If you are struggling with anxiety, depression or any other mental health problem, reach out to a health care provider who can help.