Introspection – Definition, Psychology, And Applications


Had one of those days where you have just sat back and thought about what is happening in your life? Have you looked into what is wrong and where all of this is coming from?

If you answered yes, you have briefly participated in self-introspection.

What is introspection? Introspection is a method of looking inward and making indirect inferences while rejecting the idea of comprehensive self-knowledge or premature conclusions. Introspection is a way to gain some insight and perspective on one’s own thoughts and feelings.

Who gave this term? Introspection

Introspection is a word that is used to find our own thoughts, but it actually means a systematic approach that Wilhelm Wundt used in psychology as an experimental method. Wundt and other specialists relied on this approach during the late 1800s to grasp the mind’s level of consciousness. During particular experiences in time, Wundt had a special interest in knowing what a person thinks, feels, and perceives.

Does it still work?
Yes, Absolutely!

Psychology specialists, time and again, help people connect emotionally to events from their past using introspection strategies. The process simply describes how the mind understands feelings and memories in order to help an individual understand their meanings. It offers another look at how, through a precise, organised process, people are influenced by things around them.

With the help of professionals, it is a process to find their own dark beliefs, understand how to apply them, and learn to manage them. Research reveals that it helps individuals to make better life choices that contribute to satisfaction and a sense of purpose. When this strategy is used, it ensures that one may stay on track to achieve personal goals, even when faced with confusion. This has also been shown to contribute to better relationships with others at home and work while improving mental health. Some see this as a way to reveal inner strength and power as well.

Is it really helpful or is it just reflecting on the past?

Introspection and reflection are linking, introspection requires more in-depth self-reflection. It allows people to be sensitive to their beliefs and attitude in any given situation. For some, the process can be stressful and exhausting because it demands a lot of thinking and uncovering dark emotions; for them, it may not be useful. However, for those who look to understand the concern and develop insight, it can be a helpful process.

There are many empirically proven benefits of introspection, to state a few; introspection increases self-knowledge and awareness; it reduces negative thinking and motivates people toward positive change; it helps establish links between one’s experiences and reactions.

How can I introspect?

The best way to practice introspection would be in a therapeutic setup, however,

  • Practicing mindfulness and being aware of one’s thoughts and feelings in a situation
  • Taking out time at a comfortable spot to indulge in introspection
  • Analyze of how your thoughts and feelings are developed and trying to figure out the root causes, such as many thoughts about the society we are raised in and its traditions.
  • According to The British Journal of Psychology, one must be aware of their own needs and view mental states as ‘ specifically that may be shaped to fulfill those desires.
  • Questioning one’s negative thoughts and thought patterns to understand their origin and to break them down in order to have better clarity about the experience and redirect oneself.

It is important to remember that the starting point for learning what one can do and why certain things have a greater impact on oneself than others is to ask questions about oneself.

Am I an introspective person?

You could be one if you find yourself:

  • Being self-aware
  • Develop an understanding of why you participate in some acts and focus on your mental processes.
  • Delving into subconscious thoughts and physiological responses in a situation
  • You feel like you are ‘meditating on your behavior’ i.e, having increased awareness of yourself and your actions in any context.

Introspection and Psychology? How are they related?

Introspection psychology, introspection is a way of getting a peek inside your mind, which can be explored in-depth in therapy or counselling. Therapeutic space allows the client to speak about their experiences and emotions and the therapist can ask appropriate questions which would make the client reflect on their feelings and their connection to their behavior. Analyzing a person’s emotions in a context can be difficult at times; so, therapy is an objective that helps you to look at your lived feelings honestly. You can learn new things from a counselor, identify bad models of behavior, and understand how your actions are connected to your ideas and emotions (mind-body connect).

Introspection is a fine-tuned mix of awareness and cognition that improves a person’s ability to be present at the moment and aware of their thoughts, feelings, and behavior.

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