Rose, Bud, and Thorn.

Taking a step back and reflecting on our experiences provides us with information that we can use to inform future events or embrace as small wins. One way to engage in a retrospective process is the rose, bud, and thorn exercise. This is a mindfulness activity where people, whether individually or in groups, identify three types of data. This can be applied in many ways, for example, a review of a completed project or a reflection of your day, week, or any desired time frame. You can use this as a conversation starter with others also; for example, at dinner with the family, everyone can share a quick rose, bud and thorn from their day.

1) Rose

The first set of information consists of things (e.g., actions, events, ideas) that have worked or gone well. These encompass your celebratory moments, successes, and/or things to continue doing. Anything designated under the rose category is something positive that happened.

2) Bud

The second set of data pertains to areas that allow for development. This can look like ideas that you have started to develop but not quite completed or a topic that you may be looking forward to learning more about. Also, this can be an event or activity that you are excited to experience or try. Anything under the bud group calls for something requiring growth and nurture.

3) Thorn 

The third and final set of information entails anything that may be challenging or needing support. These reflect things that cause stress or experiences that prove to be difficult. To help address this, ask yourself: “What do I wish would have turned out better?” Anything considered a thorn would be things that neither went well nor worked.

By following this easy and effective process, you can gather information that you may have not considered and develop a holistic view. Over time, you may uncover themes and patterns, which, in turn, helps further your understanding of yourself or item under evaluation.  

Janice Cuaresma

Mental Health Student Intern