We often confuse introspection with daydreaming and we judge it as such. But is there a point to introspection?
Introspection is the observation of our own thoughts and feelings, an examination of one’s soul. People who do it regularly would be thrown if you asked them what is it good for. For them it’s a way of living. But now, science has a different answer. According to a study published in Cognitive Enhancement there’s a connection between greater self-awareness and social intelligence.
When we know ourselves better, when we become familiar with our own thoughts and feelings and their dynamic, we tend to better understand these in others.
The participants at the study took a “contemplative training” and those who improved the most proved themselves to be better at guessing other person’s mental states. This was true especially when it came to identifying negative mental states, since these involved more cognitive effort.
What was shown by this study was that introspection helps individuals to better understand the people they interact with in their daily lives, but also when it comes to people from different cultures and environments. In other words, the more carefully we examine our own mind, the easier it becomes to walk in someone’s shoes, which means to exercise empathy.
Therefore, introspection is not only a good in itself, it also ripples out into our relationships, too. Please, share this!