How to Balance Introspection with Mindfulness

The Balance of Introspection with Mindfulness by Kendra Kantor | http://kendrakantor.com

We walk a fine line between being self aware and being wrapped up in our own thoughts.

I wholeheartedly believe that self awareness (and therefore introspection) is essential to getting your depression, anxiety or stress to a manageable level. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I wasn’t as self-aware. It’s something I’ve been commended on by almost all of my therapist and I see it as a strength rather than a weakness.

But we have to be careful. It is so easy to fall down a hole of over analyzing every single part of ourselves. There is a very fine balance, and that balance will be different for everyone.

The point when you find yourself being excessively internal, being so wrapped up in your own head that you forget to live in the moment. Or worse, you analyze so much you cause more anxiety and even negative self thoughts.

A few years ago, I wrote about The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Being an Introspection-aholic™, here are the points summed up:

The GOOD

I know myself, my thought process and how the world affects me more than most.

The BAD

I can’t live in the moment, ever. I can’t stop thinking which means…I can’t meditate and I can’t do yoga.

The UGLY

My anxiety is spurred on by my racing mind. I think about everything, and assume others are judging me all the time.

Since writing that post, I’ve learned more about being present and mindfulness and it has lead to learning how to balance enough introspection with enough mindfulness.

When you start to feel like you are going down a rabbit hole of “what ifs” or “could bes”…it’s time to step back from self awareness and switch to mindfulness.

My favorite tool for doing this is to set aside a thought for when I can actually deal with it. In the past, my weekends were filled with over thinking and over analyzing of things I couldn’t possible deal with when everyone else in the world wasn’t working. So instead, I write down a quick note or tell my husband, “hey we need to deal with xyz on Monday but for now let’s go on a picnic!”

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It is and it isn’t. Being mindful takes more practice than introspection. Especially if/when your being self aware and questioning everything is your default setting.

Do something.

I used to sit around wondering, “who am I? what do I want to do with my life?” but all that thinking got me nowhere. I didn’t actually figure out more about myself until I let go of the thoughts and took action.

Instead of over analyzing everything…go for a run, clean the house, find a new hobby, take a class or even read a book. Be active, be purposeful and many of those questions will be answered when you aren’t even thinking of them anymore.

Most of the women I’ve talked to in my Introspection-aholic™ Podcast have said something along the lines of…”I’m an introspection-aholic but it’s such a fine line between being self aware and being too caught up in my head.” So true!

The line is teeny tiny and it is easy to step over it without noticing. There’s nothing wrong with being self aware but learning to balance it with mindfulness is essential to not getting trapped in your negative thoughts and over active imagination.

Share in the comments: How have you learned to balance your introspection so you don’t get swamped in the what ifs?
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