The ability to contemplate is uniquely human. We can think about our lives, ourselves, and our situation. This is a tremendous power, because we can use our experiences and knowledge to discover a more effective path through life.
We can learn about ourselves, solve challenges, and become more powerful versions of ourselves. Contemplation allows us to notice the negative patterns in our lives. It can help us face our fears or redefine our life.
Contemplation can be a tool for change. We can choose to get different results in our life. All it takes is a little directed thinking each day.
Here are nine strategies for applying the power of contemplation:
Make contemplation a priority.
Everyone is busy. Spending time contemplating on a regular basis only happens when it is declared a priority. A lot can be learned from each day if time to examine life on a regular basis is scheduled. Make a conscious decision to spend some time each day to think things over.
Pick a time. If contemplation isn’t planned, it probably won’t happen.
Specific times for meals, going to bed, or watching TV are a given. Include a specific time for contemplation, too.
Have a purpose.
This isn’t a time to just stare out the window and daydream. This is a time that should be spent with a purpose. Plan how to use the time before beginning.
Examine the day.
What happened today? What can be learned from it? What went wrong? What needs to be fixed? What went well? How can tomorrow be better based on what was learned today?
What are life’s challenges? What led us to this point? What was the genesis of the challenge? How is this challenge impacting life?
Search for solutions.
What are some possible solutions to the challenges? What can be done right now? What can be done in the future to avoid a recurrence? Rather than allow distraction from challenges, seek solutions.
Search for answers.
Insecure in romantic relationships? Unresolved issues from childhood? Spending too much money? This can be a great use of contemplation time. When attention is focused on one thing, it is more likely the answer will come.
Take a few minutes and breathe. It’s important to rest body and mind each day. A little time alone can be as good as (or in some cases, better than) a therapist.
Use the time as the spirit moves.
This is a great time to pray, meditate, or simply contemplate the meaning of life, mortality or spirituality. Examine childhood, the last year, or plan the future. Or just practice focusing. Use this time as needed.
There’s more to life than just going to work, watching TV, spending time with the family, and chasing goals. Introspection and mindfulness matter, too.