SoulCare® Practices

Paws for Reflection: Embracing the Puppy Pause in Life

As we step into the dawn of a new year, I find myself reflecting on the past year's journey and the role that reflection plays in our pursuit of mental well-being. Like many of you, I live a fairly busy life balancing work, family, friends, volunteering, working out, and my energetic puppy, Betty. In the balancing act, I've come to realize that pausing to reflect is not just a luxury but a necessity for our mental well-being and personal growth.

So, as we kick off this new year, I want to share my thoughts on why reflection matters and how it can profoundly impact our mental well-being.

Imagine driving through a dense fog; it's disorienting, and you can't see what's ahead. That's what life can feel like when we're constantly on the move, without taking the time to reflect. Reflecting is like turning on the headlights in that fog; it brings clarity.

In my own life, I've found that reflecting on my experiences, challenges, and triumphs helps me gain a clearer perspective on where I've been and where I want to go. It's a chance to assess whether my priorities are aligned with my values and whether I'm nurturing my mental well-being in the midst of the chaos.

There is a popular quote by Socrates that states, "An unexamined life is not worth living." This timeless wisdom underscores the importance of self-reflection. It's a reminder that without reflection, we might merely exist, but with it, we can truly live, grow, and thrive.

As I mentioned, I have a quirky and curious Vizsla puppy named Betty. While there are many lessons I could share from owning a puppy, one thing I've learned from her is the value of taking a pause. Betty often stops to sniff the flowers, chase her tail, or simply enjoy a moment of stillness. In her own way, she's teaching me that it's okay to slow down, savor the present, and reflect on the simple joys of life.

Consider how you can incorporate pause and reflection into your busy life. Here are a few practical insights:

  • Set aside dedicated time: Whether it's a few minutes before bed, during your daily commute, or a quiet Sunday morning, carve out time for reflection.
  • Keep a journal: Writing down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences can be a powerful way to reflect. It helps you track your progress and gain insights over time.
  • Practice gratitude: Reflect on the things you're grateful for. It can shift your focus from what's lacking to what's abundant in your life.
  • Seek solitude: Sometimes, reflection requires solitude. Find a peaceful spot where you can disconnect from distractions and tune into your inner thoughts.

As we take on a new year, consider making reflection a part of your routine. It's an opportunity to celebrate your achievements, learn from your challenges, and set meaningful intentions for the year ahead. It's a chance to align your mental well-being journey with your aspirations.

Alongside one of the best companions a human can have—my dog, Betty—I will be including reflection as a valuable companion in my mental well-being journey this year. Remember, reflection is not about dwelling on the past but about using it as a stepping stone to a brighter future. It’s a tool for personal growth, self-discovery, and wisdom for what 2024 may bring.

May we all embrace reflection as a valuable companion on our mental well-being journey this year!