How to Reflect: 9 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow

Опубликовал Admin
24-05-2023, 21:10
Reflection is the art of pondering on one's virtues and faults. It is also the ability to reflect on the "here and now", on your feelings and thoughts. This also includes reflecting on the thoughts, emotions and the feelings of others. Reflection can be a useful way to make positive changes in life as you assess and evaluate the decisions you've made in the past. This may require letting go of some people or ways of thinking and retaining others. Learning how to reflect on your own life, your experiences, and the lives of others can help you grow as a person and make informed choices to shape your future.

Learning How to Reflect

  1. Find time to reflect. If you have a hard time balancing your work life and your personal life, it may seem impossible to add in time to reflect. However, reflection can take place anywhere at any time. Some mental health experts recommend taking time during daily tasks and errands to reflect, if you cannot commit to a longer period of reflection. The key is identifying little "pockets" of time that are otherwise wasted everyday, and dedicating that time to reflect, no matter how short the time span may be.
    • Reflect in bed, either right before getting up after your alarm has gone off, or right before you fall asleep when you're lying down for the night. It can be an invaluable time to prepare yourself for the day ahead (in the morning), or to process the events of the day (in the evening).
    • Reflect in the shower. It's an ideal time for reflection, as it may be one of the few chances for real solitude in your day. Being in the shower is also emotionally comforting for many people, which may make it easier to reflect on upsetting or unpleasant events and memories.
    • Make the most of your commute. If you drive to work and find yourself stuck in traffic, take a few minutes to turn off the radio and reflect on anything that has been troubling you or making you anxious. If you take public transportation, put down your book or headphones for a few minutes and let yourself reflect on the day ahead or the day you're coming home from.
  2. Be still. It may be easier said than done, but one of the biggest factors in taking time to reflect should be stillness and, if possible, solitude. Let yourself Relax, sit and breathe mindfully, and try to block out any surrounding distractions. That may be as simple as turning off the television, or as difficult as blocking out a cacophony of sound and chaos. Whatever your surroundings may be, allow yourself time to be still and alone, even if you can only be alone with your thoughts and not physically alone.
    • Studies show that taking time to be still can have positive effects on your health and energy levels, and may boost productivity.
  3. Reflect on yourself and your experiences. During moments of stillness, your thoughts may begin to rush with anxiety over things you need to do or should have done differently. Those thoughts are not necessarily bad, as they could be an important part of reflecting at the start or end of your day. However, if you're trying to reflect on your own life, you may need to direct your thoughts, using a series of questions. Try asking yourself:
    • who you are, and what kind of person you are
    • what you've learned about yourself from the things you've experienced each day
    • whether you've challenged yourself to grow by questioning your thoughts, beliefs, and notions about your own life

Using Reflection to Improve Your Life

  1. Assess your core values. Your core values are the values and beliefs that ultimately shape every other aspect of your life. Reflecting on your core values can help give you a better sense of who you are as a person, and what you've worked toward your whole life. The easiest way to access and evaluate your core values is by reflecting on the question, "What is your most important trait/characteristic as a person?" This can help you cut through issues of self-esteem or self-doubt and get at what motivates you on a basic human level.
    • If you're not sure which values are your core values, think about how someone who knows you intimately (a child, a parent, or a partner) would describe you in a few words to others. Would they say that you are generous? Selfless? Honest? In this example, generosity, selflessness, and honesty might be some of your core values.
    • Assess whether you remain true to your core values in moments of hardship. Being in touch with your core values means always staying true to who you are and what you value as a person.
  2. Analyze your goals. Some people may not think about reflection when thinking about goals, but studies show that reflection is an important component of any goal-oriented pursuit. It can be easy for a person to get caught up in day-to-day habits and routines without ever taking the time to assess the work we have been putting in to attain our goals. But without that assessment and evaluation many people get off-track or stop pursuing the goal altogether.
    • Reflection is a critical part of goal pursuits precisely because many people become motivated by realizing they aren't meeting their goals. Rather than letting such a realization make you feel apathetic, it may be beneficial to change your approach to failure. Instead of feeling helpless, push yourself to prove that you can accomplish your goals.
    • If you're having trouble meeting your goals, consider re-thinking your goals. Research suggests that the most successful goals are S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound. Just be sure that any goal plan you develop includes a healthy component of reflection and self-assessment.
  3. Change the way you think. Reflection can be an invaluable tool in changing a person's thought patterns and responses to situations. Many people lapse into "auto-pilot," our day-to-day way of dealing with people, places, and situations. However, without frequent reflection and evaluation of the way we respond to these external stimuli, it can be easy to fall into patterns of behavior that are unproductive or even damaging. Reflection can help you actively assess your situation and reappraise it to feel more positive and in control.
    • Stressful or otherwise difficult situations are often the most difficult to feel positive about. However, many difficult situations will ultimately benefit us.
    • Instead of feeling anxious or upset about uncontrollable situations - like having to undergo a dental procedure, for example - reframe your perception of the situation to reflect on the positive changes that will result from that procedure. In this scenario, the procedure will be a temporary inconvenience, and you will come away with a better smile, less pain, and a clean bill of health.

Reflecting on the World Around You

  1. Analyze experiences. You will have so many experiences every day that over the course of a lifetime it may be difficult to take stock of what they all meant. If you take the time to reflect each day on what a given experience meant right after it happened, however, it can be easier to process the event and your reaction to it.
    • Think about your reaction to the experience. How do you feel the experience went? Does that match how you anticipated the experience might go? Why or why not?
    • Did you learn anything from the experience? Is there anything you can take away from the experience that will help you better understand yourself, other people, or the world around you?
    • Does the experience you had affect the way you think or feel? Why, and in what way?
    • What can you learn about yourself from the experience and the way you reacted to it?
  2. Evaluate your relationships with others. Some people find it difficult to question why they are friends with certain people, or what those friendships/relationships mean. However, it's vital to reflect on your relationships with others from time to time. In fact, some studies suggest that reflecting on former relationships can even be helpful by aiding your ability to overcome the loss of that relationship and learning where things may have gone wrong.
    • Keep track of the way people in your life make you feel. This can include people currently in your life, or people you've had to cut out of your life for any reason. Write these observations down in a journal or diary to help process those observations and learn from them as you develop future relationships.
    • As you reflect on your relationships, assess whether or not a given relationship with a friend or partner is actually a healthy one. For example, you may want to ask yourself whether you trust your partner, are honest with each other, understand one another, use respectful language and behavior towards one another, and are both willing to compromise on issues that cause disputes.
  3. Use reflection to avoid arguments. Whether you're spending time with a partner, a friend, or a family member, there's a good chance that you've had an argument over something at some point in your relationship. Arguments often happen because two or more people allow their emotions to dictate the tone of the conversation. But by stepping back and reflecting before you speak, you can help diffuse arguments or avoid them altogether. If you sense the possibility of an argument arising, take a moment to ask yourself the following questions:
    • What are you feeling in the moment, and what do you need?
    • If you were to communicate how you feel and what you need, how will the other person/people involved respond?
    • What does the other person need in the moment, and how might that need affect the person's ability to understand what you need?
    • How might your words and actions appear, both to one another and to an outsider watching you communicate?
    • How have you resolved conflicts in the past that were mutually-agreeable? What did you each say or do to help diffuse the conflict and allow everyone to be happy and feel validated?
    • What is the most ideal or mutually-agreeable way to resolve the conflict, and what needs to be said/done to reach that resolution?


  • Focus using your senses and the emotion you felt at the time.
  • The more you reflect the better you will get at it.
  • If you a have a lot of negative thoughts, work on becoming a more positive person.


  • If a thought you are reflecting on is very damaging, you should speak to a friend about it or seek therapy. Find closure and attempt to move forward, away from these damaging thoughts and feelings.
  • It helps to be in a controlled environment (like the therapists or psychologists office) when bringing up negative and/or disturbing memories.
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