Introspection can be defined as the process of examining your thoughts and feelings. The process is very closely linked to self-reflection and the observation of your mental, emotional, and even spiritual state.
When dealing with fear, introspection can be a powerful tool in helping us identify and get to the root of our fears as a means of conquering them. It is with a deeper understanding of what lies beneath our fears that we are better equipped to tackle them and eradicate them so that we can move forward in our lives.
One means by which introspection helps us face our fears is via causing us to look at ourselves. When we observe ourselves with respect to our fears, we gain clarity about what triggers them and what perpetuates them.
We can see what habits, patterns, and even thought processes may be further perpetuating our fears which provides us key information we can use to help us alter our habits, patterns, and thought processes in a way that supports breaking free from our fears rather than furthering them (Deanna, 2018).
Questions are key to gaining further knowledge about the true nature of our fears and what lies at the root. Often our fears are deeper than what’s on the surface. Asking questions helps to draw out the more deeply packed information that might be tucked away within our subconscious and would otherwise go untapped and unnoticed.
Examples might include: “What triggered this reaction?” “Is there more to what I am feeling?” “When do I typically respond in this manner?” Again, such questions can unlock patterns of thinking and behavior that help us see the true nature of our fear and ensure we are tackling the proper issue when trying to confront it (Morris, 2018).
Metacognition is another powerful means to help us tackle fear. The term metacognition translates to mean beyond thinking. The phrase means to become aware of your own experience and/or thinking. As described by psychologists, it is the process of stepping outside of the experience and refraining from judging or attaching emotions to it, but rather viewing it from the outside looking in.
When placing this in the context of fear, it would mean the process of stepping outside the fear-inducing experience with an emphasis on not judging or attaching emotion to the experience, but rather looking at the fear-inducing experience almost as an outside spectator.
The value of this is that it offers you the chance to observe yourself and your experience from a place where you can isolate yourself from the distracting mental chatter and emotional turmoil to get a more objective understanding (Newman, 2017). Meaning, you’re able to remove the emotion of fear and others attached to it and look at the situation objectively to get a more unbiased understanding of it.
Distance from Emotions
Hand in hand with Metacognition is emotional distance, which can be great for helping to conquer fear. It’s challenging to truly understand and process one’s fear when the intensity of the emotions linked to fear is present. Introspection introduces a distance from thoughts and emotions so that the process of reflecting and understanding is not influenced. This ensures a deeper level of awareness of the inner working of the mind as it relates to the specific fear(s) and its influence on behavior (Newman, 2017).
Introspection requires a lot of mental work. There is much time and effort needed to engage in the processes of self-observation, asking tough questions, metacognition, and consciously distancing yourself from your own emotions. However, the insight gained with regards to the true nature of your fears will give you what you need to truly tackle them and conquer them once and for all.