Why Introspection Will Make You A Happier Person
Do you know yourself? No, really–this is a serious question. Sure, you know your favorite color is red and that you hate kale, but how do you feel about bigger things like taking up that promotion or having children? Well, if the thought of your long-term life goals conjures up the imagery of the static TV in your grandma's basement, don't worry. You're not alone. Many of us find it challenging to find the time to sit down and reflect in a society fixated on a fast-paced environment and a 'go, go, go!’ mentality.
However, taking a moment out of your regular day for self-reflection can be a positive tool in your life. Here’s why.
Prevents you from worrying about things out of your control
Delayed shipping, an infuriating colleague, and the COVID-19 situation–you get the idea. No matter how many times well-meaning friends and family members advise you to not stress about what you can’t change, you can’t help but do it anyway. It’s human nature. Unfortunately, while a little bit of stress can sometimes boost your productivity, chronic stress can damage your health–sometimes in irreversible ways.
And this is where the practice of introspection proves useful. Through becoming aware of our thoughts and actions in relation to our emotional response to the world around us, we eventually detach from aspects over which we have no influence. Thus, allowing us to re-direct and refocus our limited energy toward things we can improve on ourselves. And, in turn, reducing our anxieties.
Helps you better connect with others
If you're like most people, you'd think that introspection and social connection are mutually exclusive: the more you have one in your life, the less you have the other. As it turns out, though, the relationship between introspection and social connection isn't quite as cut-and-dried as we commonly assume it is. In fact, research shows that through introspection, we can get better at perspective-taking (i.e. putting ourselves in someone else's shoes). And this, in turn, creates space for improved listening and compassionate response to others. Thereby promoting better connection with others, which has always been strongly associated with happiness.
Allows you to define happiness on your own terms
When are you most happy? What are some of your proudest accomplishments and why? Who do you most enjoy spending time with? These questions may awfully cliché, but they hold a lot of value. By recognizing what sparks the most joy in your life, you can apply that knowledge to future goals and endeavors. This is in stark contrast to you simply ‘riding the wave of life,’ where you get that Ph.D. because it looks good on your resume; get married because you’re pushing 30; have kids because every couple you know have children, etc.
Introspection allows you to define what happiness means to you. Yes, you, not anyone else. Not your mother. Not your best friend. You. And once you have that knowledge, you’ll be able to take the time to intentionally pursue whatever makes you happy.
Ready for some serious introspection and happiness? Well, there’s no better way for you to achieve that than through our ‘Questions For Myself Journal’. Get ready to be more in tune with yourself than ever before. Check out how introspection has transformed others’ lives here.