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The benefits of practicing self-reflection and gratitude

Applying to medical school will undoubtedly be one of the most stressful times of your life. The pressure that you feel internally from yourself and externally from friends, family and teachers to get and achieve your offers can sometimes feel overwhelming.

It is important to take time to look out for yourself during this period. After all, you are so much more than your achievements.

The Aspiring Medics, using our own personal experiences, are here to help you navigate through the application period.


What is self-reflection?

Being aware of and learning from your own thoughts and emotions.

Why is self-reflection important?

Reflection is an important part of the journey to self-love. Having a better understanding of your own thoughts and emotions can help you to make better life decisions. This can also help to reduce stress and anxiety.

Getting started:

  • Location - Find a quiet, safe space to reflect

  • Limit time - Set a time limit when reflecting so that you are not stuck in a unhelpful train of thought

  • Journaling - Write down your thoughts. This can help you learn from them and move on

Example; Reflecting on a test result that you are unhappy with

  • Location - Home

  • Limit time - 10 minutes

  • Journalling - Acknowledge that it's okay to be disappointed with yourself, but re-evaluate the standards that you set yourself. Are you being overly demanding of yourself? Were there any external factors which impacted your performance? Highlight areas from the test which you can work on in the future. Highlight other areas from the test that you are proud of. Finally, remind yourself of your past achievements both inside and outside of academia.

How can practicing gratitude help to improve my wellbeing?

Experiencing gratitude, thankfulness and appreciation for aspects of your daily life is associated with feelings of happiness and positive emotions. It can help to reduce anger and increase empathy, which can help you be kinder to yourself and others.

The benefits of practicing gratitude:

  • Strengthens relationships

  • Reduces stress

  • Improves sleep

  • Increases self-esteem

  • Increases energy levels

  • Increases resillence

Making a gratitude board:

This is a physical space where you can visually see aspects of your life that you are grateful for. This space can be filled with photos, words and objects of the people, things and experiences that you appreciate in your life. It can provide an excellent reminder of everything that you have to be grateful for.


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