It is possible to learn and grow from challenging or emotional experiences, provided that you give yourself the opportunity to do so. A reflection journal is focused on meeting challenging situations with resilience.
This is a simple, effective, and flexible structure for reflection journaling. For each experience, journal-write in three areas:
- Pre-flection. Think about the event, situation, or conversation that you have coming up. Write down your thoughts about might happen, what you are hoping for, and anything you may be concerned about. Answer the question: what can I do to prepare for the experience?
- Consider the aspects of the experience that you will have control over, then write down a personal objective for the experience. What do you intend to accomplish, take away from, or bring to the event? Begin with: “I will…”
- After the event, write down the thoughts and feelings you have. Some questions to consider are: What happened and how did it go for you? Would you do anything differently in the future? What are you proud of? What lesson, idea, or motivation can you bring forward from the experience?
This three-part practice of reflection has many benefits. It can reduce anxiety and improve the experiences you have in new, challenging, or emotional situations. It helps advance self-development through increased mindfulness. By tracking patterns in your experiences and mindset over time, the journal will also capture your increasing self-awareness and remind you of your resilience.
Check out our Reflection Journals, which are designed especially to support this three-part journaling technique.