Our mile-a-minute lives leave little time for truly experiencing a deeper existence. Reflection—which includes but is not exclusive to contemplation and meditation—is a lost art in modern life. Here are four reasons how reflection will make your life more meaningful:
- Reflection allows us time to respond instead of reacting. Taking time to think things through can give us a different perspective. So instead of reacting in fear or anger, we can respond in a thoughtful way to a person or circumstance.
- Reflection has a positive effect on our health. Meditation and contemplation can actually slow down our heart-rate, reducing the risk of high blood pressure, cardiac arrest, and stroke. Calm people make wiser decisions, avoiding the consequences of impulsive actions.
- Reflection gives us time to consider how our decisions will affect others or ourselves. Jumping to conclusions, assuming, and perceiving others actions through our own paradigms limits or worse, damages our relationships.
- Reflection can open our imaginations to new and creative ideas, give us new direction, and solve complex problems. It can help us set goals and reach them. It turns out day dreaming is more productive than we’ve been led to believe. The greatest discoveries and inventions have come from some of the greatest day dreamers in the world.
What does it look like?
Reflection is allowing your mind to relax, not stressing over an issue. It’s giving your mind the room to develop an idea or thought. It’s not laboring over something, but letting your intuition, logic or creativity direct your actions.
Reflection can be a pause before responding in a tense or awkward situation, a few minutes or hours of thinking over an idea, or waiting a day or a month to make a major decision. Postponing a decision for 24 hours or more will allow our mind to process the pros and cons. And distancing ourselves from our projects or problems gives our imagination time to come up with creative ideas or solutions. The old adage, “sleep on it” is sage—and scientifically sound—advice.
I dare you to get off the treadmill of life for a few minutes everyday to reflect. You might be pleasantly surprised by its positive effects on your well-being, relationships and success.
(What I’m not saying: I’m not talking about introspection, neurosis or analyzing to the point of paralysis. And I’m not talking about being a mere dreamer. Reflection is not a synonym for procrastination)