Posts tagged: self-reflection week

How to keep the darkness out of your self-reflection

Self-reflection can help you live a life aligned with your goals and values, but it can also leave you stuck in self-blame and obsessing about failures.

Like learning a new exercise, you might need to adjust your technique so you build strength instead of injuring yourself.


Hazard: Self-criticism and judgment

Alternatives: Take the perspective of a neutral observer to ask what’s behind your actions, forgive yourself

“If it is done poorly, without awareness, we will go into self-judgment,” said Gary van Warmerdam of “This is in fact what a lot of people think self-reflection is. They look at what they did that day or how they procrastinated and they judge themselves as lazy, unfocused, or wasteful. This kind of beating oneself up emotionally is not self-reflection.”

“Real self-reflection avoids the self-judgment about what we find. This requires a mindfulness state of a neutral observer,” Warmerdam said. “In that state of awareness we can
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How to jumpstart your self-reflection practice

It’s easy to get caught up in the demands of day-to-day life and to get distracted by the never-ending flow of emails, news, and social media begging for our attention. Experts recommend carving out time for self-reflection as the starting point for identifying our goals and charting our progress.

Here are five tips to get you going.


Set aside time 

Pressing pause on your to-do list might feel wasteful or indulgent, but it’s just as necessary as your visibly productive tasks. Schedule time regularly, whether daily or weekly.

“We often resist self-reflection for reasons that sometimes include not wanting ‘waste’ time or perhaps because we do not want to disappoint ourselves when we realize what we may not yet have achieved,” observes Laurel Steinberg, psychotherapist and professor of psychology at Columbia University.

Make it as easy as possible to do 

Take a few minutes while you walk the dog or commute, if that’s all
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3 moving stories about finding purpose in grief, change, and routine

It can take a crisis to lead some people to self-reflection. For Vic Strecher, it was the death of his daughter. For Neeta Bhushan, it was the realization her life could be in danger in an abusive marriage.

A shot across the bow isn’t mandatory. Wayne Curtis simply came to appreciate the benefits of quiet thinking time on long walks, but for many, aversion to change and fear of the unknown keep us from being self-reflective. We might choose to keep busy and distracted until we’re shaken awake by life.

Reflection can help us find and live our purpose

Strecher, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, has had a long, successful career as a behavioral scientist but when his daughter, Julia, died in 2010, he realized he’d lost his purpose.

Julia received a heart transplant when she was a baby, then a second transplant when she was 9,
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The ultimate guide to successful self-reflection

Whatever the form – a daily journal, a gratitude list, or something more involved like a retreat – experts agree self-reflection is the foundation for success and happiness. It’s how we identify what we want from our lives and evaluate our progress toward those goals.

It’s not easy though. Self-reflection can tip into self-criticism for our bad choices or we can get paralyzed considering daunting changes, leaving the lure of 24/7 distractions to tempt us away.

If you don’t know where you are going, any road can take you there

Self-reflection is like life’s GPS. Without it, you can find yourself speeding down the wrong road. “In the short term, you can achieve a goal by determination, being strategic and assertive, having a strong work ethic, and being willing to make sacrifices,” said Melanie Greenberg, a licensed clinical psychologist and the author of The Stress-Proof Brain. “But in the long term, a
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Instant Insight: Self-Reflection

Welcome to Self-Reflection Week at Unstuck. Over the next few days, we will be offering an exclusive series of insights and stories written by Unstuck contributor Colleen Newvine that we hope will guide and inspire you. This series is a perfect opportunity to experiment with self-reflection by learning about its unexpected benefits and discovering new techniques from experts or perhaps just by empowering yourself to find the time and space in your life to contemplate, express gratitude, or consider new possibilities in your life.

We invite you to check back in with us each day (and, of course, whenever you might need a little refresher in the future) and to write to us ( with your thoughts, reactions, and experiences. With that in mind, here is our weekly Instant Insight for this coming week of contemplation and personal
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