How Self-Reflection Can Improve Your Mental Health (2023)

How much do you know about yourself? Have you ever thought about why you do what you do? Self-reflection is a skill that can help you understand yourself better.

Self-reflection involves being with yourself and consciously bringing your attention inward to examine your thoughts, feelings, behaviors and motivations, saysangelina frances, CEO of LMHC, AMFM Healthcare.

Active self-reflection can help you deepen your understanding ofWho are you, what values ​​do you believe in and why you think and act the way you do, saykristen wilson, MA, LPC, CCTP, RYT, Chief Experience Officer, Newport Healthcare.

This article explores the benefits and importance of self-reflection, as well as some strategies to help you practice and incorporate it into your daily life. We also discuss when self-reflection can become unhealthy and suggest some coping strategies.

Why is self-reflection so important?

Self-reflection is important because it helps form a self-concept and aids in self-development.

build your self concept

Self-reflection is key because it helps form your self-concept, which is an important part of your identity.

yourself conceptInclude your thoughts about your own traits, skills, beliefs, values, roles and relationships. It plays an important role in your mood, judgment and behavior patterns.

Reflecting inward allows you to learn about yourself and continue to learn about yourself as you change and develop as a person, says Francis. Over time, it can help you understand and strengthen your self-concept.

Allow self-development

Self-reflection also plays a key role in self-development."It's a necessary skillpersonal growthWilson said.

Being able to assess your strengths and weaknesses, or what you're doing right or wrong, can help you identify areas where you need to grow and improve so you can work on those areas.

For example, let's say you gave a presentation at school or work, but despite working really hard on the project, it didn't go well. Taking a moment of self-reflection can help you realize that although you spend a lot of time working on projects and creating presentation materials, you're not actually practicing giving presentations. Being aware of a problem can help you solve it. So the next time you have to give a presentation, you can start by practicing with your colleagues or loved ones.

or say youjust finishedand your partner. While it's easy to blame them for everything wrong, self-reflection can help you understand what behavior led to the breakup. Knowing about these behaviors may help other relationships.

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Without self-reflection, you'll just keep doing what you've been doing, and as a result, you may keep facing the same old problems.

The benefits of self-reflection

According to experts, these are some of the benefits of self-reflection:

  • Improve self-awareness:Taking time for self-reflection can help build a greaterself conscious, Wilson said. Self-awareness is an important part of emotional intelligence.It helps you identify and understand your emotions and how they affect your thinking and behavior.
  • Greater sense of control:Self-reflection involves practicing mindfulness and being present. This can help you feel more grounded,controlFrancis said.
  • Improve communication skills:Self-reflection can help you improve your communication skills, which can benefit your relationships. Knowing how you feel can help you express yourself clearly, honestly, and with empathy.
  • Align more deeply with core values:Self-reflection can help you understand what you believe and why. This helps ensure that what you say and do is more in line with your core values, Wilson explains. It can also help reducecognitive dissonance, when your behavior doesn't align with your values, you feel uncomfortable, Francis said.
  • Best Decision Making Skills:Self-reflection can help you dobetter decisionFor yourself, Wilson said. Knowing yourself better can help you more clearly evaluate all your options and how they will affect you. Francis says this can help you make an informed decision that's best for you.
  • Greater Responsibility:Self-reflection can help you hold yourself accountable, says Francis. It can help you assess your actions and identify personal responsibility. It also helps you take responsibility for what you're trying to achieve.

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When Self-Reflection Becomes Harmful

Self-reflection is a healthy practice that is important for mental health. But if it turns into introspection, self-criticism, self-judgment,negative self talk, and compared to others, Wilson said.

This could be something like this:

  • meditation:Experiencing excessive and repetitive stress or negative thoughts.meditationIt is often compulsive and interferes with other types of mental activity.
  • car rental:Constantly judging yourself and often finding yourself flawed.
  • Negative self-talk:Let that voice in your head stop you from doing what you want to do. Negative self-talk is often self-defeating.
  • self-criticism:Constantly criticize your actions and decisions.
  • Compare:endlesslycompare yourself with othersand feel inferior.

Kristin Wilson, LPC, CCTP

Looking inward can activate your inner critic, but true self-reflection comes from a place of neutrality and non-judgment.

-Kristin Wilson,LPC,CCTP

Practice is important when anxious thoughts and feelings arise during self-reflection, says Wilsonself-compassionAnd turn your attention to actionable insights that can power your life. “We all have shortcomings and room for improvement. Reflect on the behavior or action you want to change and take steps to do it.”

It may help to think about what you would say to a friend in a similar situation. For example, if your friend says he's worried about his job situation after a bad presentation, you might be kind to him by telling him not to worry and to focus on improving his presentation skills. future. Apply the same compassion to yourself and focus on the things you can control.

If you can't calm your manic thoughts or negative thoughts, Francis recommends seeking support from a trusted person in your life or a mental health professional. "Patterns of negative self-talk,Suspect, or that criticism should be addressed with professional support, as negative self-perceptions can lead to depressive symptoms if left unaddressed. "

How to Practice Self-Reflection

Wilson suggests some strategies that can help you with self-reflection:

(Video) Personal Empowerment through Reflection and Learning | Dr. Craig Mertler | TEDxLakelandUniversity

  • Ask yourself open-ended questions:start by asking yourselfopen questionThis can lead to self-reflection, such as, “Am I doing things that make me happy?” “Is there anything I would like to improve on myself?” or “What could I do differently today?” Or someone for granted?" Notice how you think and feel about each issue, and start thinking about why. Be curious about yourself and be open to whatever comes your way.
  • write diary:Recording your thoughts and responses to these questions is a great tool for self-expression. It can be helpful to review your answers, read how you have handled things in the past, evaluate the results, and look for where you can make changes in the future.
  • Try meditating:meditationIt can also be a powerful tool for self-reflection and personal growth. Even if it's only for five minutes, practice sitting quietly and noticing whatever is happening to you. Notice which thoughts are fleeting and which ones come up most often.
  • Dealing with big events and emotions:When something happens in your life that makes you feel particularly good or bad, take a moment to reflect on what happened, how it made you feel, and how you can get that feeling back, or what you can do next time what a different thing. Writing your thoughts down in a journal can help.
  • Do a self-reflection board:Create a self-reflection chart of positive attributes that you add on a regular basis. celebrate yourReal meAnd the way to be true to yourself. Having a visual representation of self-reflection can be motivating.

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What to do if self-reflection makes you uncomfortable

You may want to avoid self-reflection if it brings up difficult emotions and makes you uncomfortable, says Francis. She recommends preparing yourself for uncomfortable situations before you start.

Think of your self-reflection time as a safe space within yourself. "avoidjudgmentWhen you explore your thoughts, feelings, and motivations for your actions, yourself," says Francis. Just observe what happened and accept it. Instead of focusing on fears, worries, or regrets, try to find areas for growth and improvement.

"Practice neutrality and self-compassion so that self-reflection becomes a positive experience that you want to do on a regular basis," Wilson says.

Incorporate self-reflection into your daily routine

Francis suggests some strategies that can help you incorporate self-reflection into your daily life:

  • Take the time to do this:It's important to take time for self-reflection and incorporate it into your daily routine. Find a time that fits your schedule—it could be five minutes with your coffee every morning, or 30 minutes sitting outsidenatureOnce a week.
  • Choose a quiet place:If your environment is busy or chaotic, it can be difficult to focus internally. Choose a calm, quiet space without distractions so you can listen to your thoughts.
  • Pay attention to your senses:Pay attention to your senses.sensory inputIt is an important part of self-awareness.

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5 fonts

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Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed research, to back up the facts in our articles. read ourediting processLearn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable and reliable.

  1. Nowak A, Vallacher RR, Bartkowski W, Olson L.Integration and expression: complementary functions of self-reflection.J Pers. 2022;10.1111/jopy.12730。 doi:10.1111/jopy.12730

  2. American Psychological Association.self concept.

  3. Dishon N、Oldmeadow JA、Critchley C、Kaufman J.Effects of trait self-awareness, self-reflection, and choice meaning perception on indicators of social identity in the context of decision-making.Frontiers in Psychology. 2017;8:2034。 doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02034

  4. Drigas AS, Papoutsi C.A New Hierarchical Model of Emotional Intelligence.Behavioral Sciences (Basileia). 2018;8(5):45. doi:10.3390/bs8050045

  5. American Psychological Association.meditation.

How Self-Reflection Can Improve Your Mental Health (1)

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How Self-Reflection Can Improve Your Mental Health? ›

With self-reflection comes self-awareness. You'll begin to see your thoughts, behaviors, emotions and reactions in real time as you experience them. You can determine which ones bother you, don't serve you or harm you and learn to let them go.

Why is reflection good for mental health? ›

Reflection allows you to identify and appreciate positive experiences and better identify ways that you can improve your practice and service delivery. It can also be useful when you have had more challenging experiences; helping you to process and learn from them.

What are the benefits of self-reflection therapy? ›

Self-reflection can improve self-awareness. This means that when considering the use of, for example, counselling skills, self-reflection can help counsellors to: provide insight into the development of own counselling skills. develop better understanding as to what counselling skills should be used and when.

What are 3 benefits of self-reflection? ›

Self reflection can help you identify your own inconsistencies, prompting you to make small but significant changes that trigger profound shifts in your life and help you build positive momentum. Self reflection has many other purported benefits, from boosting productivity to helping you develop your sense of identity.

Why is self-reflection important? ›

Self-reflection enables you to move from just experiencing, into understanding. Self-reflection: Encourages a level of self-awareness and consciousness about practice. Enables you to identify areas for improvement and also areas where you are strong.

How self-reflection gives you a happier and more successful life? ›

Self-reflection allows you to understand and see things from a different point of view. When you take a step back from a situation, you gain a new understanding. You can see the whole picture, not just the piece of the puzzle. You become more open minded.

Why is self-reflection important in growth mindset? ›

Experience by itself does not lead to learning. True learning comes from reflecting on your experiences. Iyanla Vanzant sums it up beautifully “Until you take the journey of self-reflection, it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life.” Self-reflection without clear intent is like a maze without a map.

What can self-reflection lead to? ›

Self-reflection can allow you to take a step back, engage in introspection, and gain perspective on what really matters to you. As a result you can make better decisions about pursuing goals in your life that suit your needs and interests.

How does self-reflection help with stress? ›

Benefits of self-reflection

Taking time to understand what has gone well and what has been a challenge will help you in future situations. Whether in your work or personal life, being open to adopting a mindful and productive approach can ease feelings of stress and uncertainty.

What are two benefits of reflective thinking? ›

Reflective thinking helps you to: Develop a questioning attitude and new perspectives. Identify areas for change and improvement. Respond effectively to new challenges.

What are two benefits of reflection? ›

Reflection allows students to make sense of material/experience in relation to oneself, others, and the conditions that shaped the material/experience; Reimagine material/experience for future personal or social benefit (p.

What are the benefits of reflecting everyday? ›

5 Powerful Reasons to Make Reflection a Daily Habit, and How to Do It
  • It helps you learn from your mistakes. If we don't reflect on our mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them. ...
  • It gives you great ideas. ...
  • It helps you help others. ...
  • It makes you happier. ...
  • It gives you perspective.

Does reflection improve self-awareness? ›

Generally, we want to become more able and effective in what we are doing. A lot of reflection is done to make more sense of particular experiences – critical experiences, disorienting dilemmas – however reflection can also start with the want to develop better understanding of ourselves.

Why is self-reflection important in critical thinking? ›

This is because critical self-reflection encourages students not only to recognise the capabilities they already possess, but also increases their capacity to become more receptive to theoretical perspectives and new ideas, as well as enhances their ability to critique evidence.

What is the message of self-reflection? ›

Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful. Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. It is always our own self that we find at the end of the journey. The sooner we face that self, the better.

What happens when you don't reflect? ›

Without self-reflection, we simply go through life without thinking, moving from one thing to the next without making time to evaluate whether things are actually going well. We don't pause to think. To analyze. To determine what is going well and what isn't working.

What is an example of self-reflection? ›

To determine your values, think about what emotions your family galvanises in you – love, connection, pride or support, for example. Then, ask yourself the same question again, “what's important to me in my life?” Let the answer come to you without judgement and write it down.

How to do a deep self-reflection? ›

Steps in the Self-Reflection Process
  1. Pay Attention to Your Immediate Situation. ...
  2. Think About Your Future Plans. ...
  3. Keep a Gratitude Journal. ...
  4. Step Away from Distractions. ...
  5. Connect with Nature. ...
  6. Appreciate Your Loved Ones. ...
  7. Make an Effort to Meet New People. ...
  8. Continue to Learn Throughout Your Life.

Why is self-reflection important and how will it help me develop or grow as a teacher? ›

For instance, self-reflection can help you to identify strengths and weaknesses within a lesson plan to improve the way you teach any given curriculum area. It'll also give you the opportunity to determine how you can develop your skillset to progress your professional development as a teacher.

What is mental health reflection? ›

Reflection is the examination of one's own conscious thoughts and feelings. In psychology the process of reflection relies exclusively on observation of one's mental state, while in a spiritual context it may refer to the examination of one's soul.

What does reflection mean in mental health? ›

Reflection is the examination of one's own conscious thoughts and feelings. In psychology the process of reflection relies exclusively on observation of one's mental state, while in a spiritual context it may refer to the examination of one's soul.

Why is reflection good for the brain? ›

Reflection gives the brain an opportunity to pause amidst the chaos, untangle and sort through observations and experiences, consider multiple possible interpretations, and create meaning. This meaning becomes learning, which can then inform future mindsets and actions.

What is the value of self-reflection? ›

Self-reflection is the key to self-awareness: it allows us to look neutrally at our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions. Through this practice, we are able to look at ourselves with newfound interest and curiosity. As we begin to dig deeper, we may question our very being, asking, “Why do I feel this way?”

Does reflection improve emotional intelligence? ›

Self-awareness is key to the development of emotional intelligence, as it allows us to recognise the feelings we have and become aware of our mood and the thoughts that are driving our mood. Both reflection and emotional intelligence help with the development of insight and self-awareness.


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