Self-Reflection

The idea of self-reflection can sound foreign and silly to some people. Many people believe that they have no need or time to self-reflect. Self-reflection can improve many aspects of your life from work to relationships and everywhere in between. Self-reflection is taking time to ask deep questions about who you are as a person and answering them honestly. Self-reflection can be useful for a number of reasons:

  • Self-reflection can allow you to reconnect in relationships. Self-reflection allows you to recognize and improve aspects of yourself that may be standing in the way of your relationships with others. Ask yourself, “Am I someone that I’d want to be with?”
  • Self-reflection helps you to build your emotional intelligence, including self-awareness and self- This involves the ability to be able to understand and control your emotions.  High  emotional intelligence is associated with a higher rate of success outside and inside the  workplace. Research revealed that those who have a high level of emotional intelligence  perform better and make more money annually than people with low levels of emotional                intelligence (Source: http://www.talentsmart.com/).
  • Self-reflection can increase confidence levels. By reflecting on your strengths and weaknesses you will be able to be more confident in your future performance. Improving your confidence level can, as a result improve your overall happiness level as well.

There are many practical ways to begin your journey towards self-reflection. Self-reflection can take as much or as little time as you are comfortable with. Below are some tips for when and how to self-reflect.

  • Journaling is a great place to start. With journaling you are not only thinking to yourself but also putting your thoughts out into the world through the use of pen and paper. People typically are able to hold themselves more accountable to a personal plan of action if they’ve actually written it down or said it out loud rather than just in their head.
  • Find a quiet space away from home. Perhaps you can get to work early or stay a little late in order to self-reflect. Whether you’re sitting at your desk, in your car or on a bench in the lobby allow yourself to reflect on your life and goals.
  • Take a walk. Taking a walk once a day, regardless of the length, can be a great opportunity to reflect on yourself and your emotions.

As our world is becoming increasingly busy through the use of technology, finding time to stop and reflect continues to become even more important.

Suicide Awareness

“Depression is about surviving…surviving the moment and surviving the next twelve hours that you are awake; that’s if you’re lucky enough to sleep. You become so focused on the small things, trying to make it through the moment—that the big things tend to slip away: relationship, family, work, food…it’s the people who don’t understand who are the most hazardous to you when you’re suicidal.” -Anonymous

If you were not aware, the month of September is Suicide Awareness month. Some of you will read the quote about and squirm in your chair. For many, this is a taboo topic that isn’t often discussed in a public forum. For others, it’s part of a daily struggle. Suicide, particularly among the African American culture, is highly stigmatized as the “unforgivable sin” (American Association of Suicidology: http://211bigbend.net/PDFs/AfricanAmericanFactSheet.pdf ). This highly tabooed topic re-entered our consciousness when young actor Jett Jackson self-inflicted a gun-shot wound. Even then, many failed to name it what it was: suicide (Ebony Magazine, August, 2013) http://www.ebony.com/wellness-empowerment/black-suicide-when-prayer-is-not-enough-405#axzz3DPLHtEZr

Because mental health is still highly stigmatized by this and other cultural communities, suicidal ideation is often met with suggestions and comments such as, “Why don’t you pray more?” or “Just think of the blessings.” Women of most ethnicities tend to attempt suicide at a higher rate than men; however, black women are the least likely of all ethnic groups to commit suicide (Ebony Magazine, August, 2013).

A major point of misinformation is the differences between suicidal ideation and suicidal attempt. Suicidal ideation can occur spontaneously in the midst of extreme pain, or loss. For example, should an individual experience the loss of a child, the pain may be so great that they report the alleviation of that pain in death. The individual may not have contemplated a plan and they may never actually attempt to take their own life, but rather, suffer under the seemingly unmanageable pain that can be accompanied by the death of a child. What most people do not understand is that suicidal ideation can occur within circumstances of pain, but the real concern lies in repetitive and ongoing suicidal ideation. http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/

Some common risks that may require further attention are as follows:

  • Previous attempts
  • Increased use of drugs of alcohol
  • Current plans
  • Seeking revenge
  • Frequent suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling trapped
  • Severe psychological distress
  • Giving away possessions
  • Poor impulse control
  • Previous diagnosis with mental illness
  • Family history of suicide

These are just a few of the checkpoint that may be cause for concern. If you or someone you know reflect these characteristics or have expressed in some way that they would like to end their life, please do not take this lightly. If you are in crisis please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

American Association of Suicidology: African American Suicide Fact Sheet. http://www.suicidology.org/

Ebony Magazine (2013). Black Suicide: When Prayer is Not Enough. http://www.ebony.com/wellness-empowerment/black-suicide-when-prayer-is-not-enough-405#axzz3DPLHtEZr

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/