5 Reflection Questions To End Each Day
Our news feeds are full of reminders that mental and emotional health are more important than ever. But how do we prioritize health given our busy, hectic lives? A great way to start is to build a few small, but powerful, habits into our day.
One time-tested practice is to ask yourself a series of questions at the end of each day—reflection questions that help you become more aware of yourself, of God’s presence in your life, and of your interactions with the world.
By practicing this habit of reflection, you’re better able to examine and access a greater array of emotions and thoughts throughout your day. In the process, you also allow God to show you things you may have missed in the moment.
For the next week or two, commit to ending your day with a focus on your mental and emotional health. Find a quiet place and take a few minutes to reflect on the past 24 hours by asking yourself these five questions (paraphrased from the Prayer of Examen by St. Ignatius):
1. God, where were You present today?Look back on the day and acknowledge God’s presence in big and small ways. Did you sense God’s comfort in a stressful moment? See His beauty in the sunshine? Perhaps you delighted in God’s blessings, like your family or friends. Look for these things as you sit with God.
2. What am I grateful for today?Think through your day in blocks of time (morning, afternoon, and evening) with a posture of gratitude. Consider God’s provision, sources of joy, or opportunities that came your way. If it was a particularly rough day, think on a smaller scale: appreciate the breath in your lungs, sunshine, electricity. Whatever it may be, this question positions us to view things and events as gifts, not entitlements.
3. When did I feel drawn to and pulled from God?This may require a little more effort or vulnerability but will be worth it. Recount the events of the day. Was there anything you experienced that filled you with energy or joy? Where did you feel comforted and connected? Anything that could be understood to be a connection to God would fit well here.
As for feeling pulled away from God, this will likely stir up the vulnerability. Was there anything that drained or frustrated you? Were there times you felt isolated or fragmented? Maybe inadequate or rejected? This may be any experience in which you felt far from God. Even if you didn’t feel “far from God,” acknowledging these difficult moments is an opportunity to shed light on things we so often want to cover in darkness and forget.
4. God, how were You near during the hard moments?Dig a little deeper into the moments God felt distant or when things didn’t go how you wanted. Was God more near than you thought? Even though God may feel far away, He is always near, ready to give His grace to you or redeem the situation. It may take time, but such is the way of following Jesus.
5. Where can I find hope in tomorrow?Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow … but what about being hopeful about tomorrow? The book of Lamentations tells us God’s mercies are made new every day, so how can we look forward to what new goodness tomorrow will bring? Spend time identifying people, places, things, or events where you think God might reveal Himself.
As you practice ending your day with these questions, they will become easier to answer. Remember that strong mental/emotional health doesn’t happen by accident. It takes effort and intention to build better health, one habit at a time.