Mindful Minutes Expanded: Make Time for Reflection
As we develop our mindfulness practice the process of reflection becomes easier.
Reflection is vital for our personal, professional, emotional and spiritual development. Without reflection we do not learn who we are, what makes us happy, what success looks like for us, what lowers our mood, why things happen the way they do. Without reflection we drift from moment to moment, we stagnate, we get bored, we are more inclined to listen to our inner critics, we exist but we do not live.
There are many models for reflection, and a good place to start is by referring to Cambridge University Library’s Reflective Practice Toolkit at
However, it is vital to realise that there is no formula that must be followed. What is important is to ask yourself the questions;
Why did that happen?
How did it make me feel?
What could I have done differently?
These questions are easier to answer if we are living in the moment, paying attention to what we are doing and how it is affecting us both physically and emotionally. In other words, if we are living mindfully in the being mode.
The answers to the above questions will enable us to recognise what works well for us and allow ourselves to take credit for achieving a good result, and where our knowledge and ability are lacking allowing us to formulate a plan to improve and/or ask for help when needed. What will work for each of us and what we need to do to develop are entirely unique to us. Reflection allows us to gather evidence about why things happened so we can respond in a non-judgmental, appropriate and beneficial manner, which will help us get more from every minute of our lives.
Reflection is an opportunity to discuss how we are feeling and why events happened in the way they did with friends and colleagues.
Reflection is an opportunity for us to learn where our thoughts come from and to recognise that they are just thoughts and how these thoughts interact with our emotions and even our physical health.
Reflection gives us the opportunity to answer our inner critics negative thoughts by putting things into perspective, a perspective that is uniquely our own. With our perspective on the world around us based on facts we can react to our environment in a way that makes sense to us.
Reflection is a continuous process of review, exploring the questions of why? how?, and what? Modifying our behaviour on the basis of this exploration, reviewing the results of this modification and so on.
Modifying our behaviour helps to modify our thoughts. With the combined techniques of reflection and mindfulness we learn new behaviours which can lead to a more rewarding and fulfilling life. This is the basis of Mindful Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) a proven and powerful tool in the treatment of mental ill-health.
So, please, Make time for reflection.
With reflection we learn what works for us and what choices we need to make to improve.
Without reflection we tend to make choices that are a quick fix but not necessarily the best fix.
Reflection allows us to develop, both in our professional and personal lives.