The power of self-reflection: How to be your own teacher

How often do you pause to notice how an experience makes you feel? According to the New York Times, self-reflection is relatively rare: “Although 95% of people think they’re self-aware, only about 10- 15% truly are.”  

 Why does self-reflection matter?

Being in tune with yourself helps you optimize your health on a daily basis. If you’re someone in recovery, knowing what makes you feel great and perform at your best will help you manage yourself and your feelings as you navigate life’s ups and downs

 The basics: What is self-reflection?

  • Self-reflection is the practice of noticing your thoughts and feelings in order to gain a deeper understanding of your identity and create meaning from your experiences.

  • As psychological research shows, self-reflection is a “critical component of positive change in life.” Self-reflection can empower you to understand yourself and act on your new insights. As explained by Harvard Business Review, self-reflection can lead you to “make sounder decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively.”

 Self-reflection at Flyway

We recognize this importance and incorporate it into our program. At the beginning of each class, participants complete our mind-body check-in that gives them a chance to to reflect on what’s going on emotionally and physically. After their yoga class, participants complete the check-in again to note what has changed.

This process helps us understand our participants and learn how to maximize our impact. For instance, one male participant shared, “It's a good change from the fast pace to just chill and slow down and really notice your body.” At the beginning of class, he expressed, “Tough week. I mean just everything is going wrong.” After yoga, he reflected, “I feel relaxed and calm. I believe it works for me.”

 How can you improve your self-reflection?

  • Start by noticing your feelings at particular points of your day (after your morning coffee, before going to bed, on your commute to work.) Ask yourself: What am I feeling? How strong are my feelings? What is making me feel this way?

  • Make note of your feeling or write in a journal.

  • After time, look for patterns in your feelings and focus on the what, not the why. As the New York Times highlights, “Studies have shown that asking ourselves why when introspecting can cause us to ruminate on negative feelings and emotions to the point where we fill in blanks with reasoning that can lead us away from true insight.” Instead, focus on what activities and situations make you feel better or worse and what they have in common.

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Elizabeth Nesbitt