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Reflective writing is hard-hitting tool for reflection, cultivating compassion, and gaining traction on your personal growth journey. It can help you identify the stories you tell yourself and uncover limiting beliefs that have been standing in your way. It helps you better understand what’s going on in your mind, and that kind of understanding boosts your confidence and sets the stage for better communication and better relationships with your loved ones.

All you need is a pen and paper. And maybe some coffee, some music, or a candle. The practice, at its most basic, involves putting pen to paper and just writing. You can give yourself a time frame, say, twenty minutes, or you can aim for filling up three pages. The idea is to just keep writing until you hit your intended mark, even if you don’t know what to say.

When you feel stuck, you can simply write, “I feel stuck.” As many times as you need to before a new thought filters through. When you catch a thought, write it down.

If you’re new to this practice, I recommend just focusing on writing and getting your thoughts down on paper with no filter. When your timer goes off or you hit your three pages, then you go back and reflect on what you’ve written. Start looking for patterns in your thinking and your emotions. Take note of them, and start to question their validity. For each thought, ask yourself if it’s true, if it’s serving you, and if it’s something you want to believe, and go from there.

If you already have a writing practice, and you feel at ease with this process, you can begin to incorporate reflection into your writing. Allow yourself to witness what you’re writing as you’re writing it. When you observe a thought coming through, begin to ask yourself why. Why do I believe this? Then answer your question. This is a bare bones version of a process called Proprioceptive Writing. If you really want to dig deep and create change within yourself through writing, you might want to explore this more fully. You can learn more at the Proprioceptive Writing Center’s website, or from the book, Writing the Mind Alive.

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