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The Types & Benefits Of Self-Reflection

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The Practice of Reflection

The practice of reflection involves actively analyzing your experiences and actions in order to help you improve and develop.  Let’s do a deep dive into the practice and the benefits of self-reflection!

Types of reflection

There are three types of reflection:

  1. Anticipatory reflection: Performed before an event occurs to help you prepare.
  2. Reflection-in-action: Surface reflection performed while an event is occurring to identify how you’re feeling in the moment.
  3. Reflection-on-action: Deep reflection performed after an event has occurred to decide what you should have done differently.


If possible, use self-distancing in the reflection process to reduce your own bias:

  • Ask yourself what advice you would give someone else in the same situation.
  • Avoid first-person language when considering your performance (not “what could I have done differently”; ask “what could you have done differently”)
  • Visualize events from your perspective as well as the perspective of others.


The benefits of reflection

The more you learn about yourself, the easier it is to change and grow into the best version of yourself.  Here are just some of the many benefits:

  • A better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses
  • An improved understanding of the rationale behind your actions, learning why you do what you do
  • Clarification of the guidelines you use for decision-making
  • Improved metacognitive abilities in effectively analyzing your thoughts
  • Increased motivation to act and refocus on your goals


How do you practice self-reflection?

Self-reflection involves thinking about how you do things, trying to understand why you do what you do, and learning what you can do better.  The Gibbs reflective cycle is a 6-step process for guiding reflective practice:

Description:  Describe what happened, without judgment or analysis.

Feelings:  Describe how you felt, what you were thinking, and how you feel now.

Evaluation:  Evaluate everything that happened, asking what went well/badly.

Analysis:  Analyze the situation to try to make sense of everything that happened, and why you acted the way you did.

Conclusion:  Draw general conclusions about how people act in certain situations, then move on to specific conclusions that pertain to your particular situation.

Action Plan:  Figure out what you’re going to do differently next time based on everything you’ve learned.


OHI makes the practice of reflection a priority

At OHI, we believe that when you awaken the spirit within you, you can better cope with the ups and downs of life.  In the safe and sacred space at OHI, guests are able to nourish their spirit through reflection, prayer, and celebration.  We build personal time into the day to reflect on life and awaken the spirit.  Taking time to reflect on what resonates, and writing down what is important to you is a powerful way to influence change with faith, hope, and love.  Ask yourself:

  • What inspires me?
  • What gives me hope?
  • What gives me joy?
  • What touches my heart?
  • What heals my heart?
  • What are my goals?

We also have several classes and activities that incorporate reflection:


Focus 1 and 2:  The very essence of these two classes is to reflect on your purpose in life, your goals, your highest priorities, and your values.  You take the discoveries made through self-reflection, and use your OHI planner to help you focus on your time to help you achieve what matters most to you.


“You” Validation:  Learn to find the friend in the mirror through active listening and self-reflection.  Participate in this loving class, where fellow guests share qualities they like about you.  Discover how giving and receiving validation are equally important.


Release Ceremony:  What is working for you — thoughts, narrative, actions?  Through a little self-reflection, winnow out what’s NOT working for you, and burn a list of anything in the past that no longer serves you well.  Release it to God, so you can be present and set positive intentions for the future.

Self-reflection takes an open heart and mind.  What it does not require is a critical eye.  This practice isn’t meant to criticize yourself.  It’s meant to help you see how your current choices impact your future outcomes, and to help you make progress on your journey to a happy, healthy, and loving future.  Here’s to seeing (and appreciating) the real YOU!

Learn more about self-reflection at OHI San Diego and OHI Austin. Our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.