This is a personal thing that I like to do. Reflection after a stressful event. I had to learn this skill myself and now I wanted to share with you how I do this. The reflection process is an individual process, there is no right or wrong way to do this. My experience upon reflecting after a stressful event allows me think through how I felt at the time, my emotional state at the time and look for a positive outcome.
- Firstly I write down what happened. Was it a disagreement, argument, a situation that made you feel uncomfortable., did you forget something? Whatever it is write your account of the version. No one has to see this so be honest, and take your time doing this, there is no deadline. If you are still upset, or angry at this point, leave it and come back to it once you feel calmer.
- Once your version of the stressful experience has been completed, try and look at the positives or negatives of the outcome you would have wanted. This may be entirely different to the outcome at the time!
- An example of this:
Situation – I was at the supermarket getting some shopping, and a friend bumped into me, we stopped briefly to have a chat as we had time we were both on own.I hadn’t seen her in ages, a catch up was very much needed. During this chat she commented on ones my children’s behaviour, I was very cross as she hadn’t any right to pass comments on my child, when her own children were not prefect. “How dare she” I was very cross and angry and just made my excuses and walked off in mid air of her conversation. She was very surprised by this, and walked off in the opposite direction.
- After I had returned home I thought of about what had happened. I took her comments to be that of criticism rather than a friendly chat. Was I wrong to do that?
- As I found myself reliving this event pondering on the what ifs, I decided to do two columns one of my thoughts and feelings and the ‘what ifs’ column.
My thoughts and feelings.
How dare she
Who does she think she is
She’s not a perfect parent
What does she think I teach my children
She’s not contacted me in ages
She doesn’t care
How cross am I
That’s really hurtful
She really does care
She’s looking out for my child
She thinks that I can help support my child
She’s been unwell that’s why I haven’t seen her
She maybe just as upset
- This would allow me to look at a different aspect to the situation, and reflect upon what I may have done differently . How I can communicate my thoughts and feelings to my friend, as I think I may have overreacted. Rather than sitting at home worrying about what I should do to try and retify the situation, I decided to send her a text message.
- Within this message I felt I could convey my thoughts and feelings without doing it in person as I was embarrassed.
- This for me, I found that once I was away from the situation, I could reflect about what had happened, and what had provoked my thoughts and feelings at the supermarket. And rather than avoiding my friend because I was afraid what she would say, or do next time we met.
- If she was a true friend then she would understand and we could leave the experience behind us. If she was still upset, then I would have to respect that and acknowledge the fact she may need more time, hopefully she will come round.
I feel that you can learn to reflect upon situations that provoke many emotions in yourself, that it’s a good thing to do, you can look at this experience from all points of view. Rather than avoiding something, that with time becomes more of a problem.
We are all human we experience a multiple of emotions each and every day. If we didn’t learn new skills how would we be able to cope living in today’s society. We each have our own learning curves, some steeper than others, but we all our still learning and that makes us who we are. We need to embrace new experiences and opportunities in order to grow and develop into stronger, more mindful people. A less stressful place to be.
Remember take each and every day as it comes. And most importantly remember to smile and release those good endorphins within you. 😀