10 Tips for Your Introspection Journey
Introspection is the process of examining your thoughts and feelings. The process is very closely linked to self-reflection and the observation of your mental, emotional, and even spiritual state. Introspection is a process that can be developed and some methods and techniques can help you improve and grow as you walk out this journey.
Meta-cognition translates to mean “beyond thinking” and is the process of becoming aware of your own experience and/or thinking. Psychologists describe it as stepping outside of the experience and refraining from judging or attaching emotions to it, but rather viewing it from the outside looking in. This offers you the chance to observe yourself and your experience from a place where you can isolate yourself from the distracting mental chatter and emotional turmoil to get a more objective understanding.
2. Ask Questions
Asking questions is an important part of the introspection process. Questions are a great way to tease out your true self. The key is to ask the right questions to get to the core of self. The questions should be tough and challenging to get to the root of whether you are progressing, reaching goals, and transforming positively. Examples might include: “Am I living my truth? If not, what can I do to get there?” “Am I using my time wisely? What can I cut out to make more time?” “Who are the people in my life who genuinely love and support me?” Asking questions such as these will help you root out those things that are not serving you and make necessary changes.
Observing yourself can help you gain clarity about who you are, particularly strengths. When you understand your strengths, you can use them to help point you towards your purpose and passions. It’s a lack of understanding of our strengths that can lead us down the wrong path and towards a pursuit of things that don’t serve us in our lives. Thus, taking time to observe ourselves, our habits, our patterns, and our strengths will give us key information that will help us tailor our efforts more effectively.
4. Create Distance from Emotions
To be truly introspective, distance from thoughts and emotions must be created so that they don’t influence the process. This ensures a deeper level of awareness of the inner working of the mind and its influence on behavior. This relates back to meta-cognition whereby one can identify a feeling or thought and then set it aside so as not to allow it to influence the process of reflecting and gaining greater awareness regarding an experience (Newman, 2017). This can allow detachment from destructive and draining mental processes that can sometimes do more harm than good.
5. Create Quiet Space
Creating quiet space involves being intentional about making time to be introspective. The quiet space or time can be specific to the individual. There is no particular activity or length of time that is required. It’s more about getting in a regular pattern of consistently reflecting.
Journaling is a way to track thoughts, reflections, and experiences over time. By putting them down on paper you can separate out thoughts and emotions from experiences so that you can view the experiences objectively. Journaling is also a good way to write out answers to introspective questions one might be asking and tracking answers as a means of monitoring self-development and progress .
Meditation can be a great tool in the introspection journey. Rather than focusing on breathing or sensations for it to be useful in terms of introspection, one would need to channel the meditation into a directed thinking practice. That would mean ensuring one is in a space of contemplation- a structured form of reflection, versus rumination. Thus, you never wander too deeply into a given emotion or thought that may lead you too deeply down a negative path. Rather, you’re aware of your thoughts and emotions but you control them instead of letting them control you.
Visualization can be a great way to help you gain clarity about the next steps for your future. Visualization is about setting intentional time aside to reflect on life desires and whether current life choices and actions are leading to or away from those desires. Visualization can help you get clear on your goals and what really matters at the end of the day.
9. Avoid Judgment
As one goes about the process of introspection it is important to avoid judgment. When something arises whether good or bad, we should not allow our own judgments to block it from coming up. Whatever comes up is a part of you and it should be embraced entirely to gain all the necessary input/feedback from it.
Exploration is a final tip to be used on the introspection journey. Exploration is about doing something outside of the norm as a means of discovery. When you do something new you can uncover your passions and desires in a manner you may not if you continue along the same path you regularly travel. Thus, trying new things can be an uncomfortable but great way to learn more things and new things about yourself.
The tips outlined are ways you can begin your introspection journey. Using the methods outlined you can observe more about your mental, emotional, and even spiritual state as a means of gaining deeper insight and clarity about yourself. Then using that information, you can gain clarity about the path you desire to take in the future and how to best get yourself there.