Designated 20: How 20 Minutes of Daily Self-Reflection Can Change Your Life

Olya Barnett
4 min readMar 24, 2023
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

Every day, I give myself 20 minutes to reflect on how I am feeling — a visual self-check-in. I do this because I tend to spend my whole day, week, and life overthinking and worrying about something. Instead of worrying and avoiding feeling the emotions within and storing them (check out the book “The Body Keeps the Score”), I give myself a designated 20–30 minutes to focus on my emotional well-being.

This is an especially great tool when you’re stressed / overthinking.

Here are the how-to steps to simplify this process:

  1. I find a mirror (or use a phone) or whatever to talk to me.
  2. I set an intention to connect to myself / soul and let the experience serve my highest good.
  3. And just like with a journal, I start talking out loud about what I was thinking and worrying about that day, talk myself through why I am feeling that way, and allow the conversation with my soul to take me where it needs. * I may not know in the beginning — but it will benefit me in the end ;)
  4. During the session, I lean into my emotions — even the hard ones, and I feel them fully. After all, most of the fear within us is merely fear of feeling a certain way, not of an actual event/catalyst happening (that’s just the path to your awakening of it within.) So I talk, lean into the feeling, and accept those feelings fully and unapologetically, validating my own emotions and feeling heard, etc., Which could also solve our trauma wounds. We also learn to do this for others by learning to listen properly and validate others feeling heard.
  5. Let go of it for the rest of the day because this should not go on for more than within that designated 20–30 minutes; you don’t want to live in it.
  6. Do it all over again tomorrow.

After the time is up, I don’t worry about it for the rest of the day. If this arises again, I’ll tell myself I will address it during my reflection time tomorrow.

And that’s it, easy as pie.

Via Giphy

By only giving myself a designated 20 minutes, this practice helps me to:

  1. Not waste my whole day worrying (and avoiding) my emotions.
  2. Feel my emotions and accept what is. Luckily, nothing is permanent.
  3. Accept myself and surrender to the flow of all my phases and parts of life — no matter where I am.

Things to keep in mind during this practice:

  • Time will tell: When you’re doing this practice, it may flow into only being a 5-minute conversation with yourself and that being enough. It could also be 30 minutes. That’s okay. Don’t extend it more than that, as that’s enough. Plus, you’ll be back tomorrow if need be. This brings us to our next point…
  • You may not need to do this every day: Frankly, I started doing this only when I needed it and was stressed. Overthinking. Couldn’t get things out of my head. Spiraling straight down into the abyss of Olya-worry-land. So it was a great practice to get me out of my head and face myself and my emotions. So if you feel great and don’t feel the need to do it today, great. But don’t forget to check in daily with yourself (be it meditation, a walk, etc.)
  • You might not know what to “talk to yourself about:” but trust me, once you look in the mirror, just start talking to yourself and see what comes out. You may be surprised.
  • It may get deep, and you may get emotional: Let that be okay. That’s just your bodying releasing what you’ve been withholding. Plus, as tired as we can get, how much better do we feel after a good cry? So be gentle and nonjudgmental with yourself during this, and allow what comes to be.
  • It’s okay if worries, intrusive/critical thoughts, etc., come up: We’re human. It’s okay. Just come back to yourself through breathing and a quick check-in (i.e.,.asking yourself: “Am I alright?). Remind yourself that you’re okay and will give this the time it needs a little later when you can. And honor that.
  • Don’t forget to breathe: In moments of stress or confusion, our breath can become shallow, and we forget to take deep, conscious breaths. Breathing deeply can help you calm down and refocus. So take a few moments to breathe deeply and feel the air moving in and out of your body.
  • Be open to yourself opening up: Sometimes, the things we hear from ourselves can be shocking and pleasant and everything in between. Again — that’s okay. Be open-minded and curious, allow what is to be, and observe. It will enable you to learn, grow, and release.

Life is all about growth and evolution. When we allow ourselves to learn and grow, we become better versions of ourselves. This practice allows us to release any negative thoughts or emotions that no longer serve us, and make space for new, positive experiences to come into our life.

Most importantly, remember to love yourself throughout this process, no matter what happens. You are a beautiful, unique, and amazing individual, and you deserve to be loved. So be kind and gentle with yourself, and remember that you are worthy of all the love in the world.

Please share and save this article if it resonates with your soul, and leave a comment below about what parts of it spoke to you.

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Olya Barnett

A Soul having a human experience while learning how to get out of her own way and empowering those along the way with one writing or creative piece at a time!