By Karl Houghton: Chief Editor

Reflective practice is one of the most valuable and effective habits that we can and should schedule into our day, as the benefits make it one the most healthy, useful techniques for maintaining the “Self”.

However, Self-reflection is often neglected, as many do not take the time or see the long term benefits of building this into our habits.

The main objective for self-reflection is to provide a platform by which we can remain present and tune awareness towards our feelings. Through this exercise we can expect to focus on, and control the outcomes of our emotional intelligence, which in turn lead the agenda for future reflections.

It is said that a picture paints a thousand words. This is so true when we reflect on an event that happened in the past, or may happen in the future via a visual recollection, with the feelings and experiences apparently re-occurring as though we were still living it.

This is not just about imagery though, the focus should also be on the feelings that are produced when we self-reflect, as it is these which are signposts for our next moves, or indications of where we are going wrong in life; or indeed doing well.

So how does this concept really work?

The mind is largely split into two basic modes. Firstly, the conscious and secondly the sub-conscious, with each perpetually attempting to take control of our present. When we first begin repeating any action, thought or feeling, it begins in our conscious awareness, and then over time, begins to seep into memory, before reaching the third stage, the subconscious memory or what we commonly call “habit”.

The act of learning language is a classic example mirroring this concept, whereby at first the dominant mind attempts to ignore (forget) the new learning, for example, if the verb is suddenly in a different place. This is our conscious phase.

Once something is at the habit stage, it is often automatic, out of reach, and therefore difficult to re-write out of our automatic programming, though this concept is not just reserved for physical actions, nor visual imagery, but also the way we feel.

When an individual constantly rehearses the idea that they feel a certain way, this eventually becomes normalised to the extent that it is no longer recognised. We will hear individuals declare that the are “fed up” but do not know why. It is a classic example.

The act of self-reflection brings us back into the present as it attempts to re-align the inner dialogue with the conscious mind and we can once again find ourselves.