Reflection can often be a challenging skill for people to develop. Often in higher education in psychology, we focus so much of the academic side of our work. We do literature searches, establish arguments and critique what others have said. However, when it comes to writing about ourselves and how we feel, everything changes. Many struggle to not only analyse how they feel but establish what they feel. Like any skill, reflection can be improved and with these 3 short tips, you’ll be on your way to enhancing your reflective capabilities:

  1. PRACTICE

    • Like anything else, skills such as reflection take time and practice to improve. However, how do you practice being reflective? In truth, it can be hard, but my advice is to practice reflection throughout your day. Perhaps you are reading a news article, you can attempt to reflect how this article makes you feel, how it relates to you and your past perhaps. What images does this news article conjure up for you? Why? You can do this with different daily events, from watching something on TV to having a conversation with a colleague in your office. Being reflective is a vital skill and can be massively effective in self-development, but it takes practice.
    • Next time you practice reflection based on something that has happened during your day, ask yourself these questions:
      1. Why does this event stand out to me over all the others from today?
      2. What emotions does this highlight to me?
      3. In what way do these emotions affect my daily life and behaviours?
      4. How do I feel about these emotions?
  2. KEEP A DIARY OF YOUR DAY

    • Keeping a daily diary can be a really effective way of not only improving your reflective capabilities but being able to write them down on paper.
    • This point can be really effective when incorporated with the previous point on practice. Writing down your daily experiences and going through the process of practicing your reflection of these experiences can really be enhanced when you have a record of it. This allows you to go back through a timeline and evaluate how your reflection has improved…maybe this improvement is something you could then reflect on.
  3. BEEN MORE IN-DEPTH

    • Being able to reflect effectively on yourself requires a deeper level of thought. The questions listed under my practice suggestions are good starting points but they should develop into different questions for you. Asking deeper level questions of yourself and why you feel a certain way based on a certain stimulus will help elicit higher quality reflective skills. I feel that the difference between reflective skills and in depth reflective skills is developing your understanding from what you feel to why you feel it. This development of what to why should always be a conscious consideration when reflecting on yourself or your work for either personal development or academic and coursework development.

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