Know Yourself.

STRATEGY 1 in Self Reflection:

The GLAD Technique

GLAD is an acronym for ways of finding joy and balance.  It works by paying attention to certain positive aspects of life that are around you all the time, but which frequently go unnoticed.  Sound easy?  It is!

To begin, look over each of the letters to get familiar with what each stands for.  Then, use the guidelines below for starting your own GLAD practice.

G – One Gratitude that you’re thankful for today

  • This can represent the most basic gratitude, such as having food and water, sunlight, a body that works well enough, a roof over your head, etc.
  • Your gratitude might also be about appreciating those truly significant things in your life-such as a devoted relationship, meaningful work, a caring community of friends, and robust health that allows you to experience life to the fullest, etc.

L – One new thing you Learned today

  • This can be something you learned about yourself today, such as noticing an insight or wisdom that you possess.
  • It could mean having an open attitude so that you can discover something new and interesting about another person (even someone you have known for a long, long time).
  • This might just have to do with learning a new fact or gaining a new perspective on something-and that might make you happy because it is fun to be curious and to learn.

A – One small Accomplishment you did today

  • Often, we mistakenly believe that an accomplishment has to be something super-sized.  In truth, an accomplishment can be that ordinary act of self-care that you did for yourself or another.  Examples might be:
    • Getting enough sleep.
    • Not skipping meals and getting enough nourishment.
    • Getting dressed in the morning (highly underrated!).
    • Doing anything that moves you (even slightly) toward reaching a long-term goal.

D – One thing of Delight that touched you today

  • Consider anything that makes you laugh, smile or brings you joy.
  • This can be a thing of beauty that you notice during the day.
    • Examples could be hearing a bird chirp, seeing a colorful flower, laughing at a funny joke, tasting food, returning a smile, noticing the pleasant sensation of water on your hands while washing the dishes, etc.

GLAD Practice Guidelines:

Use a journal, mobile device, or an index card to keep track of those GLAD items that you notice.  To really get in the practice, try to do this each day for the next week.  If possible, try to notice an entirely new and unique gratitude, learning, accomplishment, and delight for each day.

While you can do this daily, you can also do a GLAD practice on a weekly basis.  The important thing is that you write these down and keep them to look at in the future.  One idea is to keep your GLAD items on an Index card or some other portable device so that you can write these down the moment you notice them.


STRATEGY 2 in self reflection:

SMART Goals.

Often times we set goals that are too “vague”, and furthermore don’t have a game plan.  We set goals like “I want to lose weight”, “I want to improve my grade”, “I want to do well on my homework”, or “I want to live in a big house”.  Those are not GOALS, those are DREAMS.  When you are setting goals, you should ensure that they are SMART.  SMART is an acronym for

S: Specific-> A specific goal is distinct and defines as much as possible the desired goal, and contains no ambiguous language.

M: Measurable-> A measurement lets one know when the goal is complete.

A: Attainable-> A goal must be attainable and feasible, and not impossible.

R: Relevant-> A goal must be relevant and related to one’s desires, capabilities, and values.

T: Time Based-> A goal must have a time frame because a goal without a time frame is a wish.

There is a plethora of ways to go about using the “SMART goals” technique. You could use it as a check out type method, a weekly reflection to hold students accountable, a quarter reflection, etc.  The main idea is that we are constantly making goals in life if we want to be successful, and the more aware and intentional we are, the more likely we are to fulfill are goals and achieve what we want most.

Strategy 3 in Self Reflection

Conflict Resolution

Intro with Discussion Questions:

  • Conflicts like arguments can make you angry and frustrated, but conflicts aren’t always such bad things.  Let’s talk about ways having disagreements and arguments can be helpful sometimes.
    • Helps you see a different point of view
    • Allows you to express your feelings
    • Maybe you change your mind or reach a better understanding of something
  • Why is it best for people to be able to talk and listen to each other?  Why is it important to talk and not keep your feelings inside to yourself?

Conflict is a normal, and even healthy, part of relationships.  Since conflicts in relationships are inevitable, learning to deal with them in a healthy way is crucial.  When conflict is mismanaged, it can harm the relationship.  But when handled in a respectful and positive way, conflict provides an opportunity for growth, ultimately strengthening the bond between two people.

Managing and resolving conflict requires emotional maturity, self-control, and empathy.

Tips for successful conflict resolution:


  • Make your relationship with the other person your priority.


      • Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than ‘winning’ the argument, should always be your first priority.  Be respectful of the other person and his or her viewpoint.


  • Focus on the present.


      • If you’re holding on to old hurts and resentments, your ability to see the reality of the current situation will be impaired.  Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the here-and-now to solve the problem.


  • Pick your battles.


      • Conflicts can be draining, so it’s important to consider whether the issue is really worthy of your time and energy.  Maybe you don’t want to surrender a parking space if you’ve been circling for 15 minutes.  But if there are dozens of spots, arguing over a single space isn’t worth it.


  • Be willing to forgive.


      • Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive.  Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can never compensate for our losses and only adds to our injury by further depleting and draining our lives.


  • Know when to let something go.


    • If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree.  It takes two people to keep an argument going.  If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on.

Fair fighting:  Ground rules


  • Remain Calm.


      • Try not to overreact to difficult situations.  By remaining calm it will be more likely that others will consider your viewpoint.


  • Express feelings in words, not actions.


      • Telling someone directly and honestly how you feel can be a very powerful form of communication.  If you start to feel so angry or upset that you feel you may lose control, take a ‘time out’ and do something to help yourself feel steadier.


  • Be specific about what is bothering you.


      • Vague complaints are hard to work on.


  • Deal with only one issue at a time.


      • Don’t introduce other topics until each is fully discussed.  This avoids the ‘kitchen sink’ effect where people throw in all their complaints while not allowing anything to be resolved.


  • No “hitting below the belt.”


      • Attacking areas of personal sensitivity creates an atmosphere of distrust, anger, and vulnerability.  


  • Avoid accusations


      • Accusations will cause others to defend themselves.  Instead, talk about how someone’s actions made you feel.


  • Don’t generalize.


      • Avoid words like ‘never’ or ‘always.’ Such generalizations are usually inaccurate and will heighten tensions.


  • Avoid “make believe.”


      • Exaggerating or inventing a complaint – or your feelings about it – will prevent the real issues from surfacing.  Stick with the facts and your honest feelings.


  • Don’t stockpile.


      • Storing up lots of grievances and hurt feelings over time is counterproductive.  It’s almost impossible to deal with numerous old problems for which interpretations may differ.  Try to deal with problems as they arise.


  • Avoid clamming up.


    • When one person becomes silent and stops responding to the other, frustration and anger can result.  Positive results can only be attained with two-way communication.

Tips for being a better listener:

  • Listen to the reasons the other person gives for being upset.
  • Make sure you understand what the other person is telling you–from his or her point of view.
  • Repeat the other person’s words, and ask if you have understood correctly.
  • Ask if anything remains unspoken, giving the person time to think before answering.
  • Resist the temptation to interject your own point of view until the other person has said everything he or she wants to say and feels that you have listened to and understood his or her message.

Helpful responses when listening to the other person’s point of view:

  • Encourage the other person to share his or her issues as fully as possible.
    • “I want to understand what has upset you.”
  • Clarify the real issues, rather than making assumptions.  Ask questions that allow you to gain this information, and which let the other person know you are trying to understand.
    • “Is that the way it usually happens?”  
    • “Can you say more about that?”
  • Restate what you have heard, so you are both able to see what has been understood so far – it may be that the other person will then realize that additional information is needed.
    • “It sounds like you weren’t expecting that to happen.”
  • Reflect feelings – be as clear as possible.
    • “I can imagine how upsetting that must have been.”
  • Validate the concerns of the other person, even if a solution is elusive at this time.  Expressing appreciation can be a very powerful message if it is conveyed with integrity and respect.
    • “I really appreciate that we are talking about this issue.”
    • “I am glad we are trying to figure this out.”


Strategy 4 in Self Reflection:

Spoken Word

Have students watch spoken word, discuss how it made them feel and how they can use it as a tool to express themselves and what they have been through.  Moreover, you can talk about the elements that made it particularly powerful and how they can include them in your own spoken word.

This is an example:





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