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Introspection is an important part of self-reflection and self-awareness. It literally means 'looking inside'. Here, you examine your own thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviour and analyse them to become a better person. So introspection allows you to gain a better understanding of yourself, your motivations and your goals. And so you can make strides and become a nicer and better person. It does take some work. You will almost literally encounter yourself and be confronted with less pleasant sides of yourself. But then you will have something! Here we tell you how to apply introspection in practice.

Introspection: bare your bottom

Introspection is self-reflection. You consciously start working with your thoughts and behaviour. Many people live their lives on autopilot. This is convenient, because it saves a lot of energy. But that way, you can also get stuck and become unhappy with, for instance, your relationships or yourself. Everyone can improve something about themselves and make better choices. Whether this concerns your career, finances, relationship dynamics, parenting or your diet. If you start working on this, it will be uncomfortable and uncomfortable for a while. Nobody likes to be aware of their problems and incompetence.

The good news is that you can do something about it through introspection. First, you do this by asking yourself why you behave or feel the way you do. Why don't you do your best at work? Why do you have few social contacts? Why do you keep having trivial arguments with your partner? What makes you fail to live a healthier life? Introspection looks at your values and beliefs, at what you find important in life. If you have these clearly in mind, you will soon see where you can do better.

Ways to do introspection

There are many different ways to practice introspection. Consider, for example:


Meditating forces you to calm your brain and turn your gaze inwards. If you have mastered meditating a bit, you are more aware of what is going through you and why. Ideally, you should use a specific intention during your meditation session so that you can focus your attention on that. When doing this, all kinds of thoughts are guaranteed to come into your mind. Try to let these be there and not judge them. You will find that the more often you meditate with your specific intention in mind, the less negative or judgmental the thoughts will become. With a little patience and practice, you can thus gain enlightening insights about yourself.

Journal keeping: introspection through journaling

Journaling is a really good move if you want to become more aware of your behaviour and thoughts and work with them. By putting your thoughts and feelings on paper, you can better analyse and understand them. For example, after a hard, frustrating day at work, write down why it was so intense. What didn't go according to plan, what was your part in it, how did you react to it and were you satisfied with that reaction? What can you do differently in the future? And to what extent did you act according to your own values? Maybe you will find out that with a small adjustment in your behaviour you will experience such a working day or a specific colleague very differently.

You can journal at a fixed moment in the day, for instance at the beginning and/or end. But you can also quickly jot down a thought in between to rack your brain on it later.

Look inside while tripping

Many people trip for fun or pleasure. But you can also engage in introspection during a trip. In fact, you can learn from a psychedelic trip by reflecting on it. As with meditating, your intention is leading. What do you want to work on and why is this important to you?

Therapy: doing introspection together with an expert

Therapy is, of course, a great way to tinker with yourself. After all, that is exactly what it is for. Cognitive behavioural therapy and schema therapy are recommended if you really want to work on your behaviour and emotions. Look for a suitable therapist, though, as they need to be able to understand and guide you.

The many benefits of introspection

Introspection really can make you a better person, and you probably understand why. But it can also lower your stress levels. You can better deal with your thoughts and emotions. Because you put them on paper, for example, but also because you start to understand yourself better and are less reactive in your communication and behaviour. And if all goes well, you get a better and better idea of what your most important values are in life, and how to live by them more. This will lead to fewer arguments and a greater sense of flow. Who wouldn't want that?