Reflective thinking is the process where you slow down to interpret and evaluate your experiences, check that they make ‘sense’ to you, create meaning, justify your actions, solve problems and savor good moments to create distinct memories and let go of stuff. It helps with your future planning and wires your brain in the positive & constructive manner.
Reflective thinking is powerful because it enables you to make faster and more informed judgments without having to spend a lot of time analysing the situation. I think it is a game-changer for veterinary profession if we can all master it.
You can apply this method to any situation (work case, family matter, lecture at the vet conference etc) from your own life or from the lives of others.
Why we all love the Facebook groups? Because actually a lot of content there is based off individual reflections. You are welcome – now you can use this ‘scientific evidence’ to justify the time spent scrolling through those posts:).
Values of Reflective Thinking for veterinary professionals:
- Gives perspective within context
- Allows you to continually connect with inner-self
- Rewire your brain to remember more positives
- Provides counsel and direction regarding the future
- Increases confidence in decision-making
Let’s dissect this for a moment or two.
Reflective thinking gives you true perspective and keep you connected with inner-self. It puts your experience into perspective – small stuff, a crisis, a difficult case, an irritation from a difficult client or a great event to savor forever. This allows you to focus on what is really important to you. Connect with your life to gain true perspective and think with understanding.
Reflective Thinking helps rewire your brain. For example, thinking/reflecting on a vacation or a case helps make memories. Without reflecting on something, memories are not made. Ever wondered why you have vague memories of some things and vivid memories of others? Part of it is the attention you paid to it…going over it again, reflecting on it from various angles.
Now with reflective techniques you can spend more time reflecting on positive things, creating more ‘good’ memories and increasing your level of happy. This in return will help deescalate everyday pressure built up and give you small actionable steps to take vs big unrealistic goals.
Reflective thinking allows you to profit from experiences to empower direction for your future. It takes a good experience and makes it a valuable experience by examining it. This is how you learn from both successes and mistakes. It helps you discover what you should repeat and determine what you should change.
Reflective thinking increases your confidence in decision-making. A person looks over the various angles of something to ponder and gain insight. Capture other possibilities or things that may have been done should a similar situation raises. Next time it happens – you will be more ready to face it with confidence.
Few things in life can help you learn, improve, and enjoy life the way reflective thinking can. Add appreciation for the little things of each day by taking the time to acknowledge and memorise.
Reflective thinking can be mastered if you nurture the following traits within you:
1. Self-awareness: First and foremost, you should have a firm grasp about yourself. Your abilities, your past experiences, and goals. Self-awareness helps you to have a better understanding of the position you are in, and what can be done from that position.
2. Self-improvement: Each experience is a lesson that needs to be learned. When you find obstacles or success, make sure that you study about the routes you chose and the experiences that come with it.
3. Empowerment: Apply the lessons learned from your experience and put them to use in real-life scenarios. You are empowering yourself to become a better version of yourself.
Convinced yet? Check out the 10 questions I use to stimulate daily reflections.
Li @ Vet Reflections