The new year is right around the corner. As we step out of 2021 into 2022, it is the perfect time to reflect on our experiences in the past year. As the year comes to an end, you may find yourself looking back on the year and reflecting. There is much to reflect on for every one of us, and journaling is a great way to honor, appreciate, and release the experiences we have had in our lives.
Why We Benefit from Self-Reflection
Self-reflection is a valuable skill in which we become aware of ourselves; it helps us observe our own thoughts, actions, and feelings. It is an awareness that can be developed so that we can observe ourselves on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level. There are multiple benefits to self-reflection.
Engaging in Self-Reflection Helps Us Understand Ourselves More
Through practicing this form of reflection, we become aware of why we feel a certain way and where a certain thought may stem from. This can help us make sense of our experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Self-reflection can be the key to processing our emotions and thoughts and ultimately helps us get to know ourselves even better than we already do.
Self-Reflection Encourages Us to Grow
One of the main benefits of self-reflection is that we are able to challenge our own thoughts and beliefs about ourselves and the world, especially those that are hurting us more than helping us. The first step to changing anything is to become aware of the issue. When we start self-reflecting, we are able to observe the stories we tell ourselves and are able to decide whether those stories serve us or hurt us.
We Become More Attuned to Our Needs and Feelings
For many of us, we can become so absorbed in life and its distractions that we aren’t even aware of how we really feel. This is the beauty of self-reflection, as it calls us back to ourselves and helps us become more in tune with our mind and body. This can help us become better partners, friends, and family. By becoming more aware of our needs and feelings, we are able to communicate more effectively in relationships and make better decisions that suit us.
Encourages Us to Track Our Progress
Self-reflection is a great way to give ourselves a pat on the back. We often don’t know how much we have progressed until we reflect on the past. If you take a moment to write a few thoughts down each day, you can return to them weeks, months, or years later and witness your own progress as an individual.
However, too much of anything may not be helpful. It’s important to remain as neutral and compassionate with yourself as possible when engaging in self-reflection. Indulging in too much self-reflection can become obsessive and overly critical.
How Do You Prepare for a Journaling Ritual?
There are many different ways you can build self-reflection, but journaling is one of the more popular methods of reflection. Journaling has many benefits, as it has been proven to reduce stress, improve the immune system, encourage sharp memory, boost mood, and strengthen emotional awareness.
But how should you start and prepare for a journaling ritual? This is entirely up to you, and you should personalize your journaling practice. Here are some guidelines that may help you build a journaling ritual for self-reflection.
- Find a comfortable space where you can focus: Choosing the right place to journal in can make or break the experience. Choose a desk by a window, sit in front of your fireplace, or journal out on the porch. It’s completely up to you, so choose a space that feels comfortable and inspiring to you.
- Clear your space: It can be difficult to focus in a cluttered area, which is why it is best to journal in a neat zen-like space. Having a clean space will encourage you to focus and help clear your mind.
- Create an ambiance: Once you’ve cleared your space, bring in elements that create a calming atmosphere. Lighting some candles or incense, playing background music, lighting a fire can create a comfortable atmosphere that makes you want to journal.
- Make it enjoyable: Include little things that bring you joy into the ritual: Sit down with your favorite cup of tea, use a special journal you love, or play your favorite background music. This will motivate you to do your journaling and make the experience enjoyable.
10 Writing Prompts to Use This Holiday Season
These writing prompts may inspire you to reflect on the past year. Grab your journal and settle into your clean and relaxing ritual space. Feel free to make up your own prompts as well. In your journaling, try not to over-critique your writing. Just allow whatever comes to mind onto the page. Try to be detailed and go with the flow of whatever comes up for you. And above all, be honest. There’s no need to beat around the bush or sugar-coat things, you are the only one who will see your entries. Being honest is very important in self-reflection.
- What were my big wins this past year?
- What were my small wins this past year?
- What were my challenges this year?
- In the past year, I am most proud of myself for…
- Looking back on the past year, I am most grateful for…
- What would I like to shed or leave behind from this past year?
- What health, wellness, and fitness practices were most beneficial or enjoyable for me this year?
- What are my health and wellness goals for the coming year?
- How did I push myself outside of my comfort zone this past year? How would I like to push myself out of my comfort zone this coming year?
- When you look back at your life this time next year, what is the one thing I want to have accomplished or maintained a commitment to? Why is this important to me?
Feel free to use these prompts as inspiration to come up with your own journaling prompts. Remember to enjoy the process and honor whatever comes up for you.