Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
What Is Introspection? Everything You Need To Know
Published Jun 8th, 2021 & updated on Aug 12th, 2021
You know that little voice in your head that’s always screaming at you when something in your life is just not it? Usually, we drown that shit out and just keep going on our merry way. But a little thing called introspection is allll about engaging in those thoughts and actively listening to them! Right now you may be thinking “What even is introspection?” and we’re here to give you that answer, along with some tools to start practicing it. So get ready to take a deep dive into your thoughts and feelings, ‘cause we’re about to help you get at that beautiful self-knowledge!
What Is Introspection In Psychology?
Introspection is basically a method of examining or observing your mental and emotional processes. You may have heard people call it “heart-searching,” “soul-searching,” or “self-analysis,” but it’s all pretty much the same thing! And, psychotherapist Dr. Courtney Tracy gives us a spot-on definition in a recent episode of the Truth Doctor Podcast.
“Introspection is about finding yourself, learning about yourself, and realizing that what you’re looking for when you’re introspecting — what you’re looking for when you’re soul-searching — is insight,” she says. “You want to gain insight into yourself. Into your thoughts, your body, your emotions, the situation that you find yourself in, things that have happened in your past, things that you want to have happen in your future.”
How To Practice Introspection
If you’re still wondering “How do I even practice introspection?” we’ve got you covered — the BIGGEST thing is asking questions! Ask yourself questions about your past, your present, your future, about your personality and your choices, and about how you are truly feeling. Ask yourself those questions and really take some time to sit with the answers. What do they mean? Is that what you want for yourself? How can you make it better?
“Figure out who you are beneath the distraction of your external world. And also, who you are beneath the distraction of the cognitive systems that you’ve created in your mind,” explains Dr. Tracy. “These thought processes that get you through the day, from the moment that you wake up until the moment that you go to sleep. Figure out what your body is telling you.”
After figuring out what your body is telling you comes the importance of listening to it. You have to truly believe in the solution that you’ve come up with for yourself, and be positive and motivating towards yourself while you find that path! Let’s look at how to do that.
Different Forms Of Introspection
When you’re trying to practice introspection, it’s important to stay away from self-rumination. But that’s easier said than done, because constantly thinking about your thoughts, your emotions and your memories can be difficult if you struggle with depression and negative self-talk! You’re stuck on the thing you want to change and can’t see the end of the road. Introspection is about self-reflection — you’re actively looking for a solution to your problems and striving for ways to get there, while treating yourself with compassion and leaving the judgement behind!
It can be practiced through mindfulness, or other types of meditation, which help you focus on the present moment through breathing or connecting with your senses. You can also choose to write it all down and reflect through journaling! A mental health professional can also help guide you through the process, especially if negative feelings tend to come up for you. However you find your way there, that self-awareness will help you get in touch with your inner self and help you live the life that you really want to live.
Some benefits of self-introspection are:
- Learning more about yourself, what you do well and what you want to improve.
- Recognizing different challenges and being able to manage your reactions to them.
- Finding gratitude for what you’ve been through and the situation you are currently in.
If you’re having a bit of trouble getting started, that’s totally okay! Dr. Tracy brainstormed a few journaling prompts that can get those introspective juices flowing and help you think about the things that make you feel at your best. So, pull out a pen and a piece of paper and get to introspecting, baby!
Tell us the story of your day, without describing your thoughts or your feelings, just using your body sensations.
I am most calm when _______.
What am I holding onto that is no longer serving me?
How am I?
“I hope that someone takes the opportunity to ask you how you’re doing and actually listens,” adds Dr. Tracy. “And to take that a step further, I wonder if you realize that you can be that person. You can ask yourself how you’re doing and you can listen to the answer.”
To learn more about introspection, listen to the “No B.S. Break Down: Introspection” episode of the Truth Doctor Podcast!