As we become more and more connected by way of technology, the pace of life and the demands of productivity seem to accelerate as we’ve all tacitly complied to now never let a moment go to waste. What we are sacrificing through in this movement toward longer hours and less leisure is the vital act of self-reflection. The art of mindfulness.
What we so often fail to realize is that what we need to do is break through the noise – quiet everything. We need to prescribe ourselves self-reflection. While moments for reflection may be hard to come by, studies actually show that the long-lost art of introspection —even daydreaming — may be an increasingly valuable part of life.
In recent years, researchers have explored the idea of resting the mind by looking at the so-called ‘default mode’ network of the brain, a network that is noticeably active when we are quieting our minds and focused inward. The findings suggest that individual differences in brain activity during rest are correlated with components of socio-emotional functioning, such as self-awareness and moral judgment, as well as different aspects of learning and memory.
While outward attention is essential for carrying out tasks and learning from the world around us, the reflection and consolidation that may accompany mind wandering is equally important, fostering healthy self-development and learning in the longer term.
We rely so heavily on the outside world in education and self-improvement instead of practicing our inner reflective skills. Knowing the impact of inward focus on memory may change the way we think of learning even in a macro-sense, beyond self-development.
Put your phones down, set your to-do lists to the side and allow yourself moments of silence – knowing now that this time is not wasted, but essential to being your best self.
We need to prescribe ourselves self-reflection